“Last Chance To Reach Out”: PM’s Poll Talk To Ministers On Big BJP Yatra


'Last Chance To Reach Out': PM's Poll Talk To Ministers On Big BJP Yatra

New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed union ministers to begin preparing for the 2024 Lok Sabha election, sources told NDTV Wednesday.

At a meeting late last night, the ministers were directed to participate in the Bharat Sankalp Yatra, a mega outreach campaign aimed at highlighting the centre’s welfare schemes. Sources said the PM advised his cabinet colleagues to make grassroots connections with voters in their constituencies and “join the Yatra not as a VIP but as an organiser”.

“The Bharat Sankalp Yatra is the last chance to reach out to the public and beneficiaries (of the centre’s schemes),” the Prime Minister told his ministers and encouraged them to expand the reach of these welfare measures to all eligible people, and particularly those below the poverty line.

The PM said these outreach efforts would be part of creating a ‘viksit Bharat’, or a ‘developed India’ and also urged ministers to assure the public the government will fulfil its promises.

The meeting also saw a presentation from the Secretaries of the Agriculture and Information and Broadcasting ministries, which have been tasked with leading this yatra.

The BJP has, in fact, been working towards the 2024 election since June, when senior party leaders met to talk strategy. The meeting at the PM’s residence in Delhi – days after his visit to the United States – was attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah and party boss JP Nadda, among others.

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In an earlier address to BJP workers, the PM had already said his government will push to implement a nationwide Uniform Civil Code – an agenda that has always been part of BJP’s manifestos.

After the June meeting sources told NDTV the BJP had divided the country (and its 543 Lok Sabha seats) into three zones – North, South and East – for planning purposes.

The North zone was to include Jammu and Kashmir and large parts of the Hindi heartland, including politically crucial Uttar Pradesh (80 Lok Sabha seats) and the Prime Minister’s home state of Gujarat.

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The East includes Bengal (a battleground between the BJP and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool), Bihar (ruled by ex-ally Chief Minister Nitish Kumar) and the north-eastern states.

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And the South – where the BJP has historically struggled to make an impression) – includes Karnataka, which the party lost to the Congress in an Assembly election earlier this year.

The Bharat Sankalp Yatra

The entire programme has been conceptualised to showcase the BJP government’s “whole” approach, with the Agriculture Ministry being the focal point the rural side of the campaign and the Information and Broadcasting Ministry spearheading the campaign’s outreach to urban centres.

The yatra will see over 2,500 performance or theatre vans cover 2.55 lakh gram panchayats and clusters across all of India’s cities and towns, including nearly 18,000 locations in urban areas.

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These vans – dubbed Information, Education and Communication, or IEC, vans – will be branded with different government schemes, like Kisan Credit Card, the Ujjwala, or the rural housing programme.

Ground activities will include Jan Bhagidari events like interactions with beneficiaries of welfare schemes and celebrations of Gram Panchayat achievements, as well as quiz competitions and health camps.

PM Modi launched the Yatra from Khunti in Jharkhand on November 15 and five IEC vans were released on the occasion. Since then, more have been launched, with the focus on districts with large tribal populations. The yatra will culminate on January 25, a few months before the election.

Winter Session Instructions For MPs

Meanwhile, at the Tuesday night meeting, Prime Minister Modi also gave his ministers instructions regarding the winter session of Parliament, which is to begin from December 4. The PM told his ministers to be fully prepared to answer questions from opposition MPs during Question Hour.

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