The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Uttarakhand is set to take its digital campaign to voters in the state. Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami launched the BJP's poll campaign on 12 January for the assembly election to be held on 14 February.
Present with him at the launch were former chief ministers and Dhami's colleagues Trivendra Singh Rawat and Teerath Singh Rawat. "Kiya hai, karti hai aur karegi sirf Bhajpa" is the party's slogan for the upcoming assembly poll.
The emphasis in the slogan is on action -- doing -- in the past (kiya hai), present (simple present -- karti hai) and future (karegi), and the exclusivity of "doing" to the BJP itself (sirf Bhajapa).
Amid Covid restrictions, the BJP is set to deploy its digital machinery for the upcoming assembly election. BJP is counting the digital preparedness as its strength in the Covid-hindered scenario. It will have one IT expert in every constituency to amplify party virtual rallies, interactions with the voters, party meetings, and campaign. The rallies of the national leaders and the state leaders will be given a digital platform with two studios acting as the nodal relay centres of the interaction with the voters.
BJP leaders from the national front, especially those who live in Delhi, will address rallies out of the studio in Delhi. The Dehradun office of the party will be connected to the Delhi office. A senior party worker told Swarajya, "The platforms in the form of the two studios will be merged. This way, people of the different constituencies will be addressed and there will be a confluence of leaders from both the national and state sphere. Leaders from the state will address rallies from the studio in Dehradun."
The BJP is eyeing a consecutive term in the state five years after it stormed to power with a strong mandate (57 out of 70). A major change -- of chief ministers, in quick succession during 2021 itself saw Dhami leading it to the polls as the third chief minister. The BJP has not announced a chief ministerial candidate. Dhami, however, has been at the top of the narrative as the "yuva" CM. The BJP is defending itself against the Congress and the Aam Aadmi party which is trying to make gains and is putting up a fight against the two with a chief ministerial in Col (retd.) Ajay Kothiyal.
Ahead of the state assembly poll, the BJP in Uttarakhand has been consistently mentioning in political speeches and public interactions that the state was created during the tenure of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, when talking about the policies, programmes and the developmental works undertaken by the BJP government in Uttarakhand. Dhami is no exception. He enlisted the policies, programmes and the developmental works undertaken by the BJP government in Uttarakhand since its formation, and in particular, those undertaken by the Centre under PM Narendra Modi, beginning 2014 connecting Vajpayee and Modi.
The BJP is ramping up its digital outreach ahead of the poll amid a precautionary absence of physical rallies and campaigns called off and ruled out. The party is spreading the outreach at the booth level, the constituency and the division level. There is a core team working along with a research team to provide inputs to the three levels. The leaders are in touch with the teams on ground and an online-offline coordination is the key to step up the communication. The state unit will reach out to voters with the agenda set by the party.
"We are fully prepared with our WhatsApp groups. For the badi rallies, we will be taking help of apps that can handle addressing 14,000 people in one go -- with 1,000 people on each platform," a senior leader in the state unit told Swarajya.
At the launch of the campaign, Dhami mentioned the recent incident in Punjab in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s convoy was stuck on a flyover for 20 minutes. He described Uttarakhand as a state of “faujis (soldiers), Ram bhakts (Ram worshippers) and deshbhakts (patriots)” and added that the issue was important to the people of the state. Dhami said the "Congress must answer". He referred to the politicising of the Pulwama terror attack, the questioning of the surgical strike, and referred to a political party saying that it had gone along with Chinese and Pakistani propaganda.
Union minister Ajay Bhatt has earlier been reported as saying that the party is fully prepared to connect with the people of the state including those living in areas of low connectivity. He added that the party will connect with groups to reach out to people where connectivity is an issue and take the digital campaign to every part of the state. BJP's national general secretary (Organisation) BL Santhosh has reportedly told his party colleagues in the Uttarakhand unit to form a strategy for campaign amid Covid restrictions. He will be at the helm of the party's preparation, strategy and the flow of advice and feedback, in the coming days.
As Dhami's address to the media indicated at the launch of the BJP's poll campaign, the party will be going to people with the combination of its achievements and continuing efforts in the sphere of development, infrastructure health, education, tourism, culture, the focus on pilgrimage centres, the amends made to decisions taken in the past. In doing so, the BJP could be addressing the current narrative that no party could get a consecutive in the hill state. "Kiya hai, karti hai aur karegi sirf Bhajpa" -- the slogan and its choice for assembly election 2022 seems a reflector of the very effort.
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