The rise in death cases during the second wave of Covid-19 may have dented confidence of the Bharatiya Janata Party government, as the party too lost many of its top leaders. However, after the setback, the BJP is now trying to return to track with Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s birthday, which may act as a booster shot for the party.
The party will roll out a three-week-long campaign to showcase work of PM Modi as he is set to mark his 71st birthday on September 17. Also, he will complete 20 years of his public life as an administrator on October 7 — the day in 2001 when he first became Gujarat CM.
According to a report in Indian Express, from 14 crore ration bags printed with his picture to 5 crore “Thank-you Modiji" postcards mailed from booths nationwide, identifying 71 spots for clean-up in rivers to a high-voltage social media campaign showcasing vaccination videos and seminars on his life and work — the party preparations are in full swing.
Ever since BJP won in 2014, PM Modi has been the face of almost all major political campaigns of the party, including all flagship social welfare schemes.
In the past, the party has marked his birthday as “Seva Saptah" but the drive this year has been widened as “Seva aur Samarpan Abhiyan". The goal this time is also to galvanise the rank and file – hard hit in the second wave – ahead of crucial Assembly elections early next year. With the second wave abating and over 70 crore having received at least the first dose, the party hopes such a campaign will help reshape its narrative, the IE report stated.
The report further stated that at a recent meeting, BJP national general secretary Arun Singh unveiled the contours of this campaign to the party’s national office bearers, state-incharges and senior state unit functionaries.
According to IE report, some of the key activities include:
• Target to distribute 14 crore bags, each with picture of Modi, thanking the PM for the 5 kg per person ration under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana (2.16 crore bags have been distributed by BJP state governments).
• Push videos of beneficiaries thanking Modi for his help during the pandemic to signal that “Gareebon ka masiha Modi ji hi hain.” (Modi as messiah of the poor).
• 5 crore ‘Thank You Modiji’ post cards to be mailed directly to the PM for his contribution towards welfare of the poor by mobilising people at the booth level.
• 71 spots (Modi turns 71) to be identified in rivers for clean-up.
• Videos thanking Modi for Covid vaccination by those getting vaccinated.
• Meetings/seminars involving prominent people from different walks of life (arts, culture, sports etc) at district and state levels on the PM’s life and work.
• Noted writers to comment on Modi’s governance in the vernacular media.
• Registration drive for eligible children who lost parents and are covered under PM-CARES scheme
• Public mobilisation towards bidding for mementos received by the PM
The report further said these come over and above the events party workers hold each year as part of “Seva Saptah" to mark Modi’s birthday: health check-up and blood donation camps to food distribution at old-age homes.
Party workers gave also been advised to continue with “constructive works or activities" on October 2 and September 25 at their respective polling booths as the days mark birth anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Deen Dayal Upadhyay.