Within a few months of the formation of the Congress government in the state, the Madhya Pradesh unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party has started drawing up its strategy for the 2024 elections. An ambitious membership drive is part of this plan. Party MPs and MLAs are being grilled on the steps they have taken to this end. They have been asked to provide a list of events organised to woo new members and submit photographs as proof. They will also have to present a list of programmes proposed for the future. The party says it has added 4 million members in the state in the last couple of months and is hoping to add another 1 million over the next few weeks. Former chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who is spearheading the recruitment drive, claims the BJP has added 30 million new members across the country.
Some cheer on I-Day
At the Red Fort in Delhi, hundreds of school children made a coordinated formation in front of the 17th century monument with the legend “Naya Bharat” on Independence Day. Early morning rain left the ground soggy with puddles of water all around. It also drizzled mid-way during the Prime Minister's speech. After his address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sidestepped the security cordon to enter an enclosure to shake hands with the children. In another part of Delhi, Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party Convener Arvind Kejriwal, in his Independence Day speech at the Chhatrasal Stadium, announced that rides on DTC, or Delhi government-run buses and cluster buses, would be free for women from October 29.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is yet to break his silence on the move by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre to abrogate Article 370 and 35A. But the move has split opinion within his party, the Janata Dal (United) — BJP's ally in Bihar — right down the middle. While one section of its members appear to be backing the Centre's move, there's another that is firmly opposed to it. "We were opposing it, but once it became law there was no point opposing it," said RCP Singh, considered close to Kumar. A few ministers continue to protest the move. "Some BJP leaders promised that they wouldn't disturb the status quo in Kashmir. If they go back on their promise we must protest," said a senior minister.