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BJP’s membership drive under suspicion?

There was breaking news on television that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has become the largest political party in the world with its enrolment drive in the past five months taking its membership to 8.80 crore. Until now, the Communist Party of China was considered as the largest party with about 8.60 crore members. Actually, the enrolment drive is a big hoax, if it comes to prove the authentication then it will be a big challenge for BJP to prove it or to publish the data openly. By giving a missed call or pressing few buttons on the phone does not prove the membership strength for any party. If the saffron party has undertaken the enrolment drive in this manner then it is trying to mislead the people. Surprisingly, there are many who had given missed calls to almost every party who had initiated this type membership, it doesn’t mean he is a member of all the parties.

In some cases, they receive calls and are asked to press the button and get enrolled and in some other case they asked for a missed call. However, we can give infinite missed calls to any numbers. To show the missed call data, BJP has provided prepaid cards with minimum balance to its call centre employees who were having almost no work after elections to dial on the number. The statistics shows that the subscribers for prepaid sim-card have increased tremendously in last nine months in India. BJP should understand this, unless they perform, it won’t be helpful for them in the next election. If BJP is thinking that enrolled members will vote them blindly, then rude shock is awaiting for them. These types of gimmick won’t work for longer time. However, there is vast difference between virtual and real India. These virtual and anonymous callers are really interested in party, is very doubtful.

BJP claims that they hit the 8.80 crore mark and the party expects its membership to cross 10 crore by the end of this month. Party president Amit Shah will announce the final figure at the national executive to be held in Bangalore on April 3-4. The ambitious membership drive was Shah’s idea. He views a base of active members as a device for consolidating BJP’s freshly-achieved pre-eminence. This virtual process of membership drive and groundswell in membership is no reliable reflection of the party’s actual strength on the ground, and that while Modi’s popularity and the party’s current influence may draw thousands into the fold, their loyalty will be always under suspicion, and they might run off when the party faces tough time. Enrolment through missed calls is a huge business task. Block-level functionaries, MLAs and small time leaders who could actually put efforts towards the progress and constructive efforts, are busy distributing sim cards and encouraging youth for making missed calls on specific number. In the new scheme, the party can scrutinize registrations by calling up numbers from where missed calls originated. The phone numbers also provide the party with a way to maintain ‘live’ contact with members to update them on developments and explain decisions as well as the context in which they are taken. Mobile phones are also viewed as vehicles for propagating the party’s policies and to counter the criticism of opponents.

The membership drive will officially come to an end on March 31 but there are chances that it may extended in a few states like Maharashtra where, according to the party, a large number of people are still calling to register themselves with BJP. After UP, where it has set a target of 1.5 crore, Maharashtra is expected to fetch the maximum number of members for the party. Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh have both already accounted for more than 80 lakh members. BJP general secretary Ram Madhav last week hailed the achievement saying the party had added one crore members in the eight days starting from March 15. The number increased steadily last week with another one crore joining. Shah is now using the membership drive to also measure BJP’s strength in states which are headed to polls later this year and in 2016. The party’s ambitious, hi-tech online membership drive was launched by Modi on November 1 last year when he became a member by dialling a telephone number followed by Shah who became the second member.

The speeding up of the membership drive comes amid hectic meetings and tours by Shah to various states to step up the effort and finalize the drive by the end of this month. The BJP embarked on an ambitious membership drive with Prime Minister Modi asking cadres to make the party as diverse as India itself. Modi also stressed on increased use of technology to reach out to more and more people and bring in greater transparency within the party. Modi expressed that People from all sections of the society should feel that they have a representative in BJP. Our country is full of diversities. BJP should also be visible as a party with diversities. Every section of the society should feel that their ‘flower’ is represented in this wonderful bouquet (of BJP). Ironically, this thought of Modi remains in his speeches and online voting. In reality, they flopped miserably without peoples’ confidence. Modi and his government also don’t understand the diverse nature of India yet. They failed to understand that India is not in the North alone. If they really understand the diverse nature of India and really respect it then they would have never come up with programmes like ‘ghar wapsi’ or statements like ‘produce more childrens’. When Modi government gives a full page advertisement purely in Hindi in states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh then do you have the right to ask your party cadres to respect the diversity of India? If they become a role model by stop Hindi-nising the Non-Hindi states, and treating all Indian languages equally, their party cadres will automatically start respecting the diversity of India. Meanwhile, I am hoping that one of the activists will file an RTI to get the exact picture of this membership drive, to expose another ‘Jumla’ or lie of ruling party.

Dr Vaidehi Tamanhttp://www.vaidehisachin.com
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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