The Telegraph
Sunday , August 3 , 2014
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BJP hunt for new faces

Calcutta, Aug. 2: The Bengal BJP has decided to launch a drive to spot new faces who can handle the challenges before a growing organisation at a time leaders and activists from other outfits are queuing up to join the party.

Although the BJP’s vote share in the Lok Sabha polls rose from 6 per cent to around 17 per cent in Bengal, state leaders are aware that there is a dearth of faces to lead the party in next year’s elections to 81 civic bodies, including the Calcutta Municipal Corporation, and the Assembly polls in 2016.

“Earlier, we had three to four prominent faces and that was enough. But now, we need more leaders who can reach out to the grassroots and take up the responsibility of strengthening the organisation,” a BJP state secretary said.

As part of the strategy, it has been decided that state BJP leaders will visit the districts to train subordinates who, in turn, will go to mandals (the BJP’s equivalent of branch committees) to groom newcomers and spot fresh faces.

Although many leaders from other parties, such as the Congress’s Pradip Ghosh and hundreds from the Forward Bloc, have joined the BJP in the past few months, the state unit is not willing to entrust them with any big responsibility, at least not just yet.

“Those joining the BJP from other parties would have to first understand our ideology and the organisational structure before reaching out to people,” said a BJP general secretary. “At the mandal prashikshan baithaks (teaching sessions), the task of the leaders would be to identify those among the newly inducted youths who are ready to take up bigger responsibilities,” he added.

The work of strengthening the party’s presence at the booth level will begin with a prashikshan baithak across 36 districts (according to the party’s organisational structure). Senior leaders will impart specific lessons to a clutch of district-level leaders before asking them to fan out to the mandals.