Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi claimed that "20-25 per cent" voters from the minority community had voted for him in the assembly polls and asked the party cadre to reach out to all sections, including Muslims, ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
At a conclave of the Bharatiya Janata Party election campaign committee, state unit presidents and organisation general secretaries, Modi and other top central leaders emphasised on the need for reaching out to voters from the booth-level in the next elections.
During his speech, Modi said the BJP should reach out to all sections, including minorities. He said he had made overtures to the minority community, especially the poor, in Gujarat and this had resulted in about "20-25 per cent" among them voting for the BJP.
The Hindutva icon said he told the minority community how the Congress had not done anything for them and their poverty was due to this neglect. He maintained that a similar approach should be adopted by the party across the country to win over the minority voters.
In an interesting observation, Modi said there are different segments within the Muslims like Shias, Sunnis, Bohras and others and they can be reached out with promises of redressing their specific grievances. Modi and Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj underscored the need for strengthening the party at the booth level.
BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain later told reporters, "One booth, ten youth" would be the aim of the party. Swaraj said each booth level worker should be made responsible for 20 households and meet prospective voters in seven phases to convince them.
"Modi emphasised on how it is important to bring voters to the polling booth and said party workers should meet this challenge," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said. In contrast to Modi's earlier emphasis on tapping voters through social media and use of modern technology, he and other leaders appeared to give stress on traditional door-to-door campaigning, rallies and constituency congregations.
Modi, however, did not leave out the young and first time voters and told the BJP cadre that this segment should be wooed, as it is restless for a change.
The 20 sub-committees formed by the party have been asked to become more active. "Modi said that the prescription to achieve a comprehensive win is planning in detail and implementing it in full," Javadekar said.
BJP President Rajnath Singh gave a call to make Mission 272+ for Lok Sabha elections a success. To come to power, a party or a combination needs 272 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha.
Party patriarch L K Advani, who had taken jibes at Modi for his attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Independence Day, praised the Gujarat chief minister for underscoring the need to strengthen the party at the booth level. He also praised Modi for his earlier campaign asking voters to register themselves.
Advani also praised Swaraj, Jaitley and Singh and said the party will achieve "record-breaking victory" in the Lok Sabha elections. He maintained that corruption of the Congress government and BJP's promise of good governance would be the theme of the polls.
The erstwhile BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government and the present BJP-ruled states have a better record of governance than Congress governments, he said.
Jaitley charged that the UPA leadership has lost its credibility and this has resulted in the government losing its credibility on the economy front as well. Singh accused the Congress of failing to check price rise, falling Rupee and increasing unemployment. He said the government is now going for capital control, which is a regressive step and shows a 1980s mindset.
The BJP president also hit out at the UPA government on the issue of security. "He charged that the Congress has failed to provide economic, internal and external security and is only concerned about its own security," Javadekar said, quoting Singh.
The BJP chief said in his address at the campaign committee meet that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government has not dealt with Pakistan in a befitting manner. "There have been 18 ceasefire violations in the last 10 days by Pakistan. It is giving covering fire to infiltrators, and helping separatists and terrorists," Javadekar said, quoting the BJP president.
Image: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi addresses party men at the BJP conclave in New Delhi