Prakash Mehta
Prakash Mehta

Mumbai: After a debacle in three states, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has embarked on ‘chintan’ (introspection) to ensure that in Maharashtra, there is no repeat of the party’s recent troika of election losses, in the forthcoming state assembly and Lok Sabha polls. Though the BJP ministers Prakash Mehta and Dilip Kamble and the state president Raosaheb Danve expressed different views on the defeat, they were agreed on fact: While the party’s organisational growth in the last four years is ideal on paper, at the ground level, there is lethargy which should be eliminated before the polls.

‘One booth-ten youth’ was the call given by Amit Shah, the party’s national president last year. According to a BJP functionary, there are 93,000-plus polling booths across the state, “of which the party has appointed booth-level officers (BLOs) in more than 85,000 polling booths. An average of 1,200 voters are registered with every booth. We have appointed at least 25 party workers in every booth, who will assist in reaching voters,” said the sources.

The party has also appointed a ‘panna pramukh’ (page in-charge). Their job is to track 25-30 voters, listed on each page. The “Modi and Devendra Fadnavis governments have launched so many initiatives, including the Mudra yojanas to avail loans and the Ujjwala scheme. Unfortunately, we do not have the lists of beneficiaries,” said Prakash Mehta, minister for housing. He added, there are thousands of beneficiaries in the Mudra scheme and more than 500 such, under the Ujjwala scheme in his constituency.

Mehta is a BJP leader with a very strong network of party workers at the booth-level for the past 20 years, before the ‘one booth-ten youth’ idea was born. Mehta said, “Karyakartas have idle and they think, Modi aayenge, ek bhashan denge to ummeedwar ki jeet hogi’ (Modi will come, address a rally and the candidate will win). Now it is time to push the party workers.” He claimed the inactivity of the karyakartas was a likely factor for the defeat of the party in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

Danve said, “There is a need to inform people about the decisions taken by the government. We have a strong network at the booth-level. They will do the work in the next polls.” Dilip Kamble, minister of state for social justice, seconded Danve’s opinion. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “We will introspect about the results in the three states.” He will address a meeting of party legislators on December 19, to zero in on the future course of action.

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