Friends of BJP: The Road Ahead: 3. Engagement

The focus should be on creating Friends of BJP Chapters in India’s top 50 urban centres (along with a Secretariat in Mumbai and Delhi) to manage ongoing activities, to drive conversation and expand the member network. The goal has to be to win the hearts and minds of youth and professionals in urban India by giving them a platform and a voice. For this, there is a need to start engaging with citizens at the local level. There are three areas to focus on:

  • Engagement with Elected representatives: Repeat electoral success can be ensured by enhancing the engagement between elected representatives and the civil society. In order to achieve the objective it is proposed that

a)      A mechanism is institutionalized to seek inputs, advice and criticism from people through the FBJP website for each BJP MP. This should be shared with the concerned MP and relevant Party leadership for follow up.

b)      Consequently there should be on the ground engagement once in three months between the elected representatives (MP/MLA/Corporator) with the electorate. This will help create a two way process. It must be remembered that technology can at best complement but not replace the need for constant face-to-face interaction. A digital interface through the website will help get contact details and build profile of the constituency, which can help build “institutional memory” and subsequently used for micro targeting.

A Constituency-wise database can help in driving voter registration, taking up local issues, assessing the strength of ideological movement etc. Any work of this sort needs to be done in close co-ordination with local BJP units wherever possible.

  • Constituency-level Grassroots PIN-code Network: Create a network of engaged people on the ground in every locality of urban India. Think of this as “Networks and Conversations” where people meet every so often to discuss issues, and meet others like them – discussions can be organised on a monthly basis in a co-ordinated way across India. The goal should be to have an engaged database of 100+ people in every urban constituency of India. [Note: The focus needs to be especially greater on the four states of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal where the BJP does not have a significant presence.]
  • Onground Activism: A couple of key issues relevant to sections of urban India need to be identified, and then need to be vigorously pursued at all levels. Two possible areas to begin with: National Security and Education Policy.

 Tomorrow: Three Questions

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.