Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Modi meets BJP general secretaries, keeps party on radar

New Delhi: Prime minister Narendra Modi busy dealing with the demands of government in his new office has not forgotten the fact that it was the party that is the engine behind the grand electoral victory which ensured that the BJP got a simple a majority of its own in the Lok Sabha, crossing the half-way mark of 274 and reaching 282, and he wants to ensure that the BJP is in the loop as it were.

Modi feels that the party cannot be ignored and that he would have to pay enough attention to the organisation. It is usually the case that when a party is in power, the focus of the leadership, especially of the prime minister, is on government. The party feels left behind.

As a matter of fact, after the historic victory on May 16, the BJP office is literally wearing a deserted look, with Gujarat Bhavan where Modi was staying, party president Rajnath Singh’s house and the RSS headquarters in Jhandewalan became the hub of activity. After the formation of cabinet, almost all of the senior party leaders have been inducted into the government.

He had a meeting with the BJP general secretaries, excluding those like Anant Kumar, Dharmender Pradhan and Thawarchand Gehlot who had been inducted into the council of ministers, on Friday forenoon which lasted for nearly two hours. Party president Rajnath Singh was present at the meeting. He will visit the party headquarters at 11 Ashok Road on Sunday. The security personnel were doing the rigorous check with the help of sniffer dogs of the premises of the party headquarters.

The meeting has been described as “group discussion” where “Modiji” did not speak and the others were not mere listeners. Modi is apparently keen on maintaining close relations between party and government. The perception is that during the Vajpayee regime from 1998 to 2004, party workers felt that they were ignored. Modi is keen that this should not happen this time round.

The prime minister is keenly aware that the party should be part of the new set up and that ways have to be found to make the party worker a stakeholder in the power system. Suggestions were made as to how this could be done, one of them being that every week a minister should sit in the party office, meet the workers and listen to their grievances.

Modi is not taking the electoral victory for granted and he knows that he has to look to the next election and the party must be battle-worthy at all times. One of the issues discussed, though informally, was that of the forthcoming assembly elections in states like Maharashtra and Haryana.

The party has to soon find a president as Rajnath Singh is now in government as home minister, and it is quite probable that Modi would want to keep a firm grip on the party organisation.

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