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BJP raises ‘invisible’ army

New Delhi, Feb. 21: Leaving nothing to chance in its drive to maximise its Lok Sabha tally, the BJP has set up an “invisible” army of 1,100 trained workers who will operate at the grassroots level in constituencies to build up party strength.

The “election assistants”, including some full-time RSS pracharaks, will keep away from the media and public glare. They will work behind the scenes, preparing constituency and district profiles so that the smallest details of constituencies are available with the party.

Apart from collecting constituency-wise data, their work will include mobilising voters and educating them on the use of the electronic voting machines.

“As part of the preparations under Mission 2004, the party has completed training of workers down to the booth level in the last two months. We have undertaken this exercise to ensure that nothing is left to chance,” said BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

Each candidate will be provided constituency profiles and other inputs. In turn, a report giving all the vital details will be sent on a daily basis from the ground to the party headquarters — in the states and in Delhi — till the completion of the elections.

Apart from the election assistants, the party has decided to depute cadre to over 500 Lok Sabha constituencies to help in the surveys and send reports to the central headquarters here for updating the party’s position, the spokesperson said.

Naqvi said Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will kick off the second leg of the party’s campaign on February 25 by addressing a meeting organised by the minorities’ development forum in the capital. Party president M. Venkaiah Naidu would also be present.

The second leg of the campaign will continue till March 5. Naqvi said the first leg saw 83 public meetings, 68 sammelans and over 100 yuva voters’ sammelan.

He said prominent Muslim leaders and leading intellectuals would attend the February 25 meeting and subsequently participate in various party programmes.

‘Don’ entry

The BJP, pushed on the backfoot by Congress allegations that its latest induction Dharam Pal Yadav is a “mafia don”, today stopped just short of admitting the Rajya Sabha MP has a blemished record. Yadav faces 30 criminal cases, including murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping and extortion.

Asked to comment on Congress allegation that the BJP had embraced a don, Naqvi said: “BJP ek mahasagar hai, usmein chote nadi aur nalle shudh ho jatein hain (The BJP is an ocean whose waters clean rivers and streams that join up with it).”

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