At post-Covid national executive meeting, BJP discusses expansion across states

The ruling BJP Sunday set fresh targets for its expansion in states where it is yet to emerge as an alternative and in poll-bound states. The party said it will set up booth committees in all 10,40,000 polling booths, deploy panna pramukhs (voter list in-charges) in them and will institutionalise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Mann Ki Baat in every booth in the next six months.

Briefing the media about the inaugural session of the BJP’s national executive meeting being held for the first time post-Covid, Union Minister and senior party leader Dharmendra Pradhan said booth committees will be set up by December 25, page committees by April 6 next year, and institutionalisation of Mann Ki Baat at the booth level will be done by May 2022.

At the inaugural speech, party chief J P Nadda quoted his predecessor Amit Shah who had said that the party’s peak had not yet come and that the BJP has to expand its footprint in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Telangana. However, Pradhan added that the recent bypoll results, in which BJP defeated TRS, indicated that the party is emerging as an alternative to the ruling party.

Pradhan said the BJP had done an experiment in Gujarat by creating panna pramukh committees in every booth besides the booth committees that help the party in mobilising voters during elections.

Delhi | Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the NDMC Convention Centre to attend BJP’s National Executive Committee meeting pic.twitter.com/HI0jEpzVfQ

— ANI (@ANI) November 7, 2021

The BJP which has been facing a setback in West Bengal after it failed to throw out the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC from power – with several leaders who had joined the party from the TMC walking out soon after – said it would “stand like a rock” with the state unit and the people despite the “violence and atrocities” against its workers. “We will fight back democratically, the party has decided,” Pradhan said.

According to the BJP leader, 53 party workers had been killed in the post-poll violence and almost a lakh people are still in shelter homes. Pradhan added that other than NT Rama Rao’s party, no party in undivided Andhra Pradesh could have such an exponential growth in any state like the BJP had in West Bengal.

Delhi | Bharatiya Janata Party President JP Nadda arrives at the NDMC Convention Centre for the party’s national executive meeting pic.twitter.com/BlaWSV8YeK

— ANI (@ANI) November 7, 2021

With the BJP facing a tough fight in Punjab which is going to polls early next year, Nadda highlighted the government’s initiatives for the Sikh community which includes FCRA clearance for funds meant for gurudwaras, exemption of langars from GST and opening the historic Kartarpur corridor for Sikh pilgrims.

At the meeting, PM Modi was felicitated by Shah, Nadda, former party chiefs Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari, along with Union Minister Piyush Goyal for leading the party efficiently during the pandemic and the country achieving the 100-crore vaccination milestone.

The meeting, which is being held in hybrid mode – state leaders are attending virtually – has already begun discussing the political resolution. The party had announced that the discourse will focus on the upcoming byelections in five states. Veteran party leaders LK Advani and MM Joshi joined the meeting virtually from their respective residences in the national capital.

Pradhan said of the 346 members in the national executive, the apex policy-making body of the BJP, 342 are attending the meeting and all of them had registered their names digitally.

In his address, Nadda lauded PM Modi for the country’s fight against the pandemic, including the support the government has provided for vaccine manufacturing and the distribution of free ration, and said the country is getting back to normalcy with good signs in the economic sector.

While the BJP and the government have been facing criticism for the controversial farm laws that led to the farmers’ agitation, Nadda pointed out that the Centre has initiated a number of programmes and announced an increase in MSP for farmers. He said the abrogation of Article 370 has triggered growth and brought normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir and that the Citizenship Amendment Act has aided hundreds after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. “He praised the farsightedness of the Prime Minister,” Pradhan said.

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