'Will write new story in Bengal': Nadda assures leaders, voters amid state BJP infighting

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  The BJP on Sunday set ambitious targets for expansion  of its footprint across the country, specially in places where it is out of power.

It announced the setting up of booth committees in all 10,40,000 polling booths, and deploying panna pramukhs (in-charge of each page of the voter list) there.

In Gujarat, the party had created panna pramukh committees in every booth apart from booth committees, which helped it mobilise voters during elections.

PM Narendra Modi arrives for the BJP nationalexecutive meeting in New Delhi on Sunday | ptiThe party also decided to institutionalise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ in every booth in the next six months by making arrangements for its relay.

The decisions were taken at the BJP’s national executive meeting, which was held for the first time after Covid struck.

Briefing journalists later, Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan said booth committees will be set up by December 25, panna committees by April 6 next year, and institutionalisation of Mann Ki Baat at the booth level by May 2022.

Modi, who addressed the valedictory session, urged the cadre to become a “bridge of faith” between the party and the common man and expressed confidence that the BJP will win the trust of the people in the upcoming polls in five states.

In his inaugural address, BJP chief J P Nadda reiterated predecessor Amit Shah’s earlier observation that the party’s peak is yet to come and that it has to expand in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Telangana. The party, however, sought comfort in the recent Telangana bypoll, where the BJP defeated the TRS.

Reaching out to the Sikhs, who are in majority in poll-bound Punjab, Nadda listed a slew of measures the Modi government has taken for the community, including expediting action against 1984 riots accused, facilitating foreign grants to gurdwaras and keeping langars (free community kitchens) outside GST regime.

Referring to the BJP’s growth in Bengal despite the Trinamool challenge, Nadda said if one looks at it from the political science perspective, there will be very few parallels of it in Indian political history.

Addressing the BJP’s national executive here, Nadda also reached out to Sikhs, who are in majority in poll-bound Punjab that is the most affected by the anti-agri law protests, by listing a number of measures the Modi government has taken for the community.

“No one has done as much work as our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji has done in the interest of Sikh brothers,” he said and mentioned steps like FCRA registration given to Golden temple in Amritsar, opening up of Kartarpur corridor, removal of names of 314 Sikhs from the black list and expediting action against 1984 riots accused.

Taking a strong note of political violence in TMC-ruled West Bengal against BJP workers, Nadda said, “I want to make it clear through the party’s national executive that we are not going to sit quietly. We will fight a decisive battle for the party workers democratically in Bengal and lotus will bloom in the state.”

This was the BJP’s first national executive meeting after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and held in hybrid mode.

The party’s national office-bearers, its national executive members from the national capital and Union ministers were physically present in the meeting, while the chief ministers, other national executive members as well its veteran leaders L K Advani and MM Joshi, who are part of the Margdarshak Mandal, attended the meeting virtually.

Sharing the details of Nadda’s speech, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told reporters that he underlined the party’s performance in West Bengal assembly polls and the substantial growth in the party’s vote share compared to the 2016 assembly elections, and 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

He said there are very few parallels in Indian politics to the BJP’s growth in West Bengal.

Setting new organisation targets for the BJP’s expansion, according to Pradhan, Nadda announced the party will constitute booth level committees at all 10.

40 lakh polling stations in the country by December 25 this year and have “panna committees”, a reference to each page of voters’ list, in each constituency by April 6.

“The entire exercise is aimed at taking the party penetration deeper and further strengthening its roots on the ground,” Pradhan said He said the executive hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s effective leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, administering of over 100 crore vaccination doses and providing free food grains to 80 crore poor people.

He said that Nadda noted that this is the largest food programme in human history.

Citing the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, Pradhan said the executive lauded Modi for his foresight of enacting the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, which aims at providing citizenship to minorities such as Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists in some neighbouring countries, including Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In his speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked BJP members to become a “bridge of faith” between the party and the common man and expressed confidence that the BJP will win the trust of people in the upcoming assembly polls in five states.

Addressing the valedictory session of the BJP’s national executive, Modi stressed that the BJP runs on the values of “Sewa, Sanklap aur Samparan (service, resolution and commitment)” and “does not revolve around a family”, urging its members to work for people, Yadav said quoting the prime minister.

Following Nadda’s speech, the chief minister of poll-bound Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath tabled the BJP’s political resolution, touching various landmark initiatives taken by the Modi government.

Sharing the details of the resolution, Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the resolution specifically mentions that “we shall ensure the party’s victory in upcoming assembly elections”.

There is positive, energetic and unconditional support from the national executive to ensure the party’s victory in upcoming assembly elections, she said.

The resolution condemned the opposition’s “opportunistic” politics and its attempts to create fear during the pandemic.

BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh read out condolence messages for the party leaders who passed away.

During the meeting, chief ministers of four states where elections are due early next year – Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa – and their respective state presidents gave presentations on their poll preparations.

BJP’s Punjab unit head also gave a presentation on upcoming assembly elections and said that the party will contest all 117 assembly seats.

This was the BJP’s first national executive meeting after the outbreak of the pandemic and held in hybrid mode.

The party’s national office-bearers, its national executive members from the national capital and Union ministers were physically present in the meeting, while the chief ministers of states where the party is in power and national executive members virtually attended the meeting.

At the NDMC Convention Centre, the meeting venue, musicians from across the country played traditional instruments to welcome those attending the meet.

Prime Minister Modi while entering the venue was greeted by women who were in their traditional Chhath attire singing songs praising the Sun god.

Chhath is an important festival of people belonging to eastern parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand and will be celebrated this week.

Stands like a rock

On the erosion in Bengal, Pradhan said the leadership would “stand like a rock” with the state unit and the people despite “violence and atrocities” against its workers.

“We will fight back democratically.” 

(With PTI Inputs)