Using the 'tea-seller' jibe hurled at Narendra Modi by rivals to reach out to voters, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday announced the launch of a campaign that will allow people to engage with its prime ministerial candidate over a cup of tea.
The Gujarat chief minister will launch "Chai pe charcha with NaMo" (a discussion over tea with Modi) on February 12 by participating in the first such meet at Ahmedabad where he will interact with public at tea stalls and answer queries on good governance, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said on Tuesday.
"When four people get together over a cup of tea they discuss politics and this discussion takes place without any tension. This is the basis of our campaign "Chai pe charcha", a purely Indian concept. We are trying to reach out to two crore people through this programme," Swaraj said.
She said the campaign will be held on a large scale with atleast 10 rounds and if time allows, up to 15 rounds. They will be conducted simultaneously at 1000 locations and at 300 cities across the country at the same time and date.
Swaraj said BJP leaders including Modi will address people gathered at tea-stalls at selected locations and later answer their questions concerning the nation.
There will be a gap of five days between each such round and the party on Tuesday announced the first 1,000 locations in 27 states identified by it for the campaign.
The unique election campaign strategy stems from the recent jibe of Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar who had said that Modi could not become prime minister but could certainly serve tea at the January 17 All India Congress Committee session.
Turning the jibe to its advantage, BJP poll strategists have decided to use Modi's "tea seller" past to reach out to as many voters as possible by inviting them to talk to the leader as part of the new project.
Swaraj said the BJP always finds new mediums to interact with people and this time it will make use of the latest technology to reach out to the people.
"Five mediums will be used for the campaign -- DTH, satellite, internet, mobile phones and social media," she said, adding that the campaign entails "share, ask and suggest".
Explaining the campaign, Swaraj said BJP leaders including Modi will address people gathered at tea-stalls at selected locations and later answer their questions concerning the nation.
She said the campaigns will take off at tea stalls between 6 pm and 8 pm when people are back from work and said every such discussion will have a theme. The first such discussion which Modi will address at Ahmedabad is on the theme of good governance, she said.
The campaign, launched through Citizens for Accountable Governance -- an NGO supporting Modi, will also be translated in local languages in the states where Hindi or English is not the local dialect but Modi will answer in Hindi, she said.
A video album and poster related to the campaign were also launched today.
The campaign has been launched nation-wide after the party's Karnataka unit had set up tea stalls in Bangalore where senior party leaders like Venkaiah Naidu distributed tea to public.