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Modi hosts party leaders for brainstorming for 2019 Lok Sabha polls

BJP to soon launch its 'voter connect' campaign for the 20 mn new voters

Archis Mohan 

Narendra Modi
Modi had asked all MPs to download the Narendra Modi app on their phones. The app has some restricted sections, open only to MPs, where they can interact directly with the PM

Prime Minister on Thursday hosted (BJP) chief and his team of office bearers and election in-charges of states for a brainstorming session over dinner to plan for the battles ahead - the big one being the polls, and the smaller battles in eight states in the run up to the 2019

The plans to galvanise its leadership and workers for its ambitious 'sampark abhiyan', or 'voter connect', campaign for the forthcoming assembly polls and the elections.

The BJP's 'voter connect' campaign would begin in earnest from January 14, which marks the end of the month-long 'inauspicious' 'khar-mas', also called 'mala-mas'. According to Hindu tradition, no new project is initiated during this month, which this year started from December 16 and ends on January 14.

The party is also looking towards the presentation of the Modi government's fifth and final Union Budget of its present term on February 1, which several in the party expect to be focused on rural areas, youth and women.

In his last 'Mann ki Baat' address of 2017 on December 31, the PM had spoken of the estimated 20 million new voters, 'the millennials', born in the 21st Century, who will become eligible to vote for the first time in 2019. The party plans to launch a 'Millennial App' to help first time voters get enrolled, and in the process reach out to them about Modi government's achievements.

Other elements of this 'voter connect' campaign are - polling booth connect, reaching out to college and university students and also encouraging blood donations on January 23, the birth anniversary of freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose.

The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the students' wing of BJP's ideological parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, has lost several recent university elections, and the party has felt the need to bolster its outreach to the youth, whose support had been key to Modi-led BJP's victory in 2014. After the Dalit protests in Maharashtra, and earlier ones in and Rajasthan, a big focus of the campaign will be to reach out to Dalit youth in the run up to the birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar on April 14.

Assembly polls are scheduled in three northeastern states of Tripura, and by March. Karnataka assembly polls are scheduled for April-May, and Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Mizoram go to polls by December.

The brainstorming session, according to sources, gave the PM an opportunity to receive feedback from party leadership and also brief them about his expectations.

The meeting also reviewed the assembly wins in and Himachal Pradesh, and whether more effort was needed to take the government's schemes and policies to the people.

During the of Parliament, the PM had asked all party Members of to download the App on their phones and regularly interact with him. The App now has some restricted sections, open only to MPs, where they can interact directly with the PM.

Party sources said the effort was to get party MPs to take the various schemes and projects of the to the people. Party chief Shah has asked research teams to list the 106 schemes and projects that the has launched since coming to power in May 2014. Talking points on the schemes have been prepared and being distributed among MPs.

Thursday's dinner and brainstorming was the PM's way to acknowledge the hard work put in by party chief Shah and his team of office bearers, that has helped win successive assembly polls since 2014. In 2017, with the exception of Punjab, the formed governments in Manipur, Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh, and retained Goa and

BJP's 'voter connect' campaign

* Connect with 'millennials' - party workers to identify those turning 18 this year and help them enroll; to also launch a 'Millennial App'

* Booth connect - to galvanise polling booth level workers, create WhatsApp accounts comprising voters in a polling booth to send information on Modi govt's schemes

* 'Blood connect' - organise blood donation camps for youth on the birth anniversary of Subhas Chandra Bose

First Published: Fri, January 12 2018. 02:10 IST
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