In a novel initiative to increase voter connect, Maharashtra BJP has asked party MLAs to walk at least 150 km during the ‘Sampark Abhiyan’ with voters.
This will help increase the legislators’ dialogue with voters in their respective constituencies, a party official said Tuesday.
“We decided to zero in on the figure 150 to mark the 150th birth anniversary year of Mahatma Gandhi which the party wants to commemorate in a constructive way,” the official told agencies.
“We have given a detailed chart to all 121 BJP MLAs in Maharashtra, with instructions for the campaign, the purpose of these visits and how the party wishes to reach out to the people,” he said.
BJP won 122 seats in the 2014 Assembly elections but an MLA quit recently, reducing the party’s to 121.
Asked about the stress on walking so much distance, the official said, “This distance is not much for MLAs from rural areas as their constituencies are large. It looks a bit on the higher side for urban MLAs, whose constituency area is smaller but they will be able to complete the target if they contact all voters”.
The 150 km target is to be completed by January 30, the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, he said.
“Each MLA is also expected to perform an hour’s ‘shram-dan’ in his or her constituency and will be accompanied by 150 party workers during the ‘Padyatra’. The exercise has already started,” the official said.
Propagating details of development initiatives of the BJP-led governments at the Centre and the state will be the focus of the foot march, the official said.
However some BJP MLAs have raised concerns with the party leadership on the response to this exercise in North Maharashtra and Marathwada regions, where low rainfall has forced farmers to cancel the rabi sowing.
“Farmers and rural populace is worried about low rainfall forcing them to cut sowing. How to approach people about political issues when their livelihood is in danger,” a BJP MLA from Aurangabad district said.
In urban areas, the focus is on issues like fuel prices and devaluation of rupee, a Mumbai MLA said. “As an MLA, I was able to address issues about roads and health. But when I was asked about rising fuel prices and rupee getting weaker against the US dollar, I had no answers,” he said.