BJP introduces grassroots campaigners modelled on RSS pracharaks in J&K

These foot soldiers will highlight policies and programmes of the party in a bid to increase its mass base in the Muslim majority state.

The BJP, which is enjoying power for the first time in Jammu and Kashmir, has borrowed a concept of grassroots campaigners from its ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to increase its “mass base” in the Muslim majority state.

The party has deployed “alp-vistaraks” (short-time workers) and “dirgh-vistaraks” (full-time workers) in the state, modelled on RSS’s pracharkas or campaigners, the corps of volunteers who serves as a link between the people and the organisation.

The BJP’s state general secretary Narinder Singh told Hindustan Times that in January this year, the party had deployed 40 full-time workers in Hindu-majority Jammu province and 36 across Muslim dominated Kashmir valley on a six-month stint.

“In the past six months, they have been highlighting the programmes, policies of the party and welfare programmes launched by the BJP-led government at the Centre to the people at grass root level,” he said.

The party also pressed into service 1650 “alp-vistaraks” for 15 days to work at the grass-root level.

“They remained away from their homes highlighting party policies and programmes. On September 17 we will honour them at a function in Jammu”, Singh added.

The BJP state unit decided to incorporate the concept, as part of a slew of programmes and polices it worked out to mark Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Janm Shatabdi Samaroh.

The party is celebrating the birth centenary of its ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyay with a year-long programme across the country.

Following the completion of stint of the first batch of foot soldiers, the party currently have eight full-time vistaraks in Jammu and two in Srinagar, Singh said.

It plans to increase the number to at least 24 in Jammu and 20 in Kashmir in view of the 2019 parliamentary elections.

“In fact our plan is to have eventually at least one full-time vistaraks in all the 87 assembly constituencies of the state in the run up to the 2020 assembly elections,” Singh said.

It is for the first time that the BJP has undertaken such a mass-contact drive in such a huge scale in the state, where it has formed a government with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), though two parties are poles apart ideologically.

Riding high on the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the

BJP had won 25 assembly seats in 2014 Assembly elections, all from Jammu region, which has 10 districts. But it drew a blank in Kashmir valley.

In the coming days the party shall also induct 50,000 booth level workers.

The BJP won three Parliamentary seats—two from Jammu region and one from Ladakh, in 2014 creating a history.