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Thursday, November 6, 2008

BJP sounds election bugle at Jaipur

JAIPUR: It was the party worker at the booth level that was the focus of the BJP leadership at the Vijay Sankalp Mahakumbh. It was a show of stren
gth in an election year, so much so that BJP leader L K Advani said, “I don’t know any other party that can bring together so many booth level workers.”

It was also a massive attempt to reach out and energise its booth levels workers. Moving away from the practice of focusing on leaders and individuals, the BJP sought to push the idea of a team.

Attended by estimated 2 lakh booth-level party workers from across Rajasthan, it was also an opportunity for the leadership to explain to the rank and file the rationale behind dropping many MLAs.

Though the party’s central election committee is expected to finalise the list of candidates for Rajasthan only later this week, it is clear that as much as 30% to 40% of sitting MLAs will be dropped. The party leadership stress on the centrality of the worker and that the party was more important than individual leaders was BJP’s way of containing possible discontent and rebellion once the list of candidates was finalised.

“There is only one candidate, that is the lotus,” the BJP president Rajnath Singh said. While the Rajasthan elections were the focus of the party workers’ rally, the central leadership of the party — L K Advani, Jaswant Singh and Rajnath Singh — focused on national issues as well.

Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje urged that the partnership that had put Rajasthan ‘on the road to progress’ needed to be sustained, and for that it was required that the BJP retained power. “The Congress says it wants to build a new Rajasthan. Well it had power for 40 years, what did it do? Our state was a Bimaru state thanks to the Congress. And now we are on the road to progress.”

But the chief minister was quick to point out that the claims of progress were not her own. “I am not saying this, the prime minister said that Rajasthan was a model state for education, the health minister praised our medical schemes, the power and coal minister our efforts in electricity,” Ms Raje said.

Team work was the theme of the Rajasthan chief minister as she urged this team of nearly 5 lakh grassroot workers to ensure that the state does not make the “mistake of falling into Congress hands.”

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