Modi's poll recipe: 'tiffin parties'

TIME FOR HUG: Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets the King of Jordan Abdullah II Bin Al-Hussein at Amman on Friday. (PTI)

New Delhi: Before leaving for a three-nation tour on Friday, Narendra Modi hauled BJP MPs into election mode, asking them to hold "tiffin parties" and "mock Parliaments" at polling booths to popularise the welfare schemes announced by the government in the budget.

The Prime Minister told the MPs that giving a mass-market appeal to the welfare schemes was directly linked to the party's performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, parliamentarians present at the meeting said.

Modi pointed out that if the schemes struck a chord with the people, then the MPs would win the elections and if they did, the party would also emerge victorious.

Giving tips on popularising the governments schemes, he suggested that the MPs pack their tiffin boxes and set out for the polling booths. He asked them to share food with booth-level workers and chat with them about the welfare measures announced in the budget.

"Have tiffin parties at polling booths. Eat food and discuss the government's schemes," an MP present at the meeting quoted Modi as saying.

Another way of making people aware of the programmes, Modi said, was to organise "mock Parliaments" at various places in the MPs' constituencies.

He said that by generating a debate among the masses over the different schemes - such as Ayushman, the massive health insurance programme - and other announcements linked to rural development and the welfare of farmers, the MPs can create a buzz among the voters.

Modi heaped praise on BJP president Amit Shah for his maiden speech in the Rajya Sabha and the way he "cornered" the Congress and highlighted the work done by the government.

The Prime Minister told the MPs to take lessons from Shah on how to defeat the Opposition's perceived negative campaign against the government.

"Modiji also narrated a story to indirectly tell the MPs that they cannot sit back and hope to win, riding the Modi wave again. He sought to tell the MPs that they have to work hard to win the polls in 2019," a senior MP said.

Before Modi, Shah addressed the MPs in which he mostly slammed the Congress and Rahul Gandhi, leaders present at the meeting said.

Shah, sources said, accused Congress president Rahul of starting a trend in the Lok Sabha by disrupting the entire speech of the Prime Minister, the leader of the House.

"Never has such a thing happened in Parliament. Rahul Gandhi's politics is undemocratic and we have to expose him among the people," Shah was quoted by a source as saying.

Modi and Shah stressed the need to use social media platforms, both for canvassing the government's achievements and targeting the Opposition. The BJP has organised special training classes for its MPs and their assistants on using social media intelligently.


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