Senior Mahila Morcha leaders, after thrashing out their year-long plans during their meetings with the party’s national organisation secretary BL Santhosh, have been asked to bring into the party’s fold at least 20-30 women in every ward/ zone and build a relationship with them over the next three years, before the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
The PM, who had met the Morcha heads on June 4, specially asked for the women’s, farmers and SC wings to intensify their work, fill up all vacant positions and reach out to families affected by Covid-19, with special focus on Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur, where assembly elections are expected in eight months.
Following this, a meeting was held with general secretaries and BJP president JP Nadda asked the women’s wing to popularise the Centre’s work for the poor. The party has started consultations to put in place 33% reservation for women at all levels in the organisation.
The Morcha members are planning a symbolic yatras from August 15 in the birthplaces of the women freedom fighters, and will also release a book on them. They have decided to celebrate Rakshabandhan in mid August by tying rakhis to frontline workers and safari karamcharis (sanitation workers). The morcha, will play a visible role in the Centre’s Azaadi ka Amrut Mahotsav, a year-long celebration to honour India’s 75 years of independence.
The unit has taken up the Centre’s Poshan abhiyan that looks at improving maternal health as a priority, and State units have been asked to appoint a coordinator each for the same.
Flagship schemes like Ujjwala and PM Awas provided women economic ownership and not just mere access to property, BJP’s Mahila Morcha president and Coimbatore MLA Vanathi Srinivasan told ET.
“I am visiting all poll-bound states to put in place a plan for the morchas to work. The intent is to have personal connect with the beneficiaries. Our members have been asked to work closely with district presidents in states such as Bengal where our party is not in power, and take the concerns raised by families to administration in states such as UP where we have our government,” Srinivasan said, adding that the Centre’s jalshakti programme to provide clean, drinking water to households, and PDS ration during the lockdown will be talked about.
While the names of mahila morchas members in all states have been announced, the national executive team members are yet to be decided. Srinivasan said every state will have a different strategy to strengthen its Mahila Morcha unit.
Women are one of the most critical electoral constituents, and an important vote bank for the BJP. In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the voting percentage of men and women were almost the same –– at 66.79% and 66.68%, respectively. Even in the assembly elections, while in Bihar, women were seen as “largely silent votes” who helped the NDA government, in West Bengal, the BJP, despite its shrill campaign was unable to get women on board.
Covid-19 has hit the livelihoods of women the most. Hence, female party workers have been asked to reach out to families in distress, popularise the Centre’s free vaccination scheme and free ration to the poor.
According to those in the know, these members have been told to hold events in small groups to talk about the benefits of the Swachh Bharat Mission and the Ujjwala scheme which gave them access to cooking gas, or financial inclusion schemes such as the PM Jan Dhan, the Sukanya Samridhi Yojana, and the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana –– schemes which reaped exponential dividends for the BJP in 2019.
There is a proposal to identify women who are politically eloquent on social media and bring them within the party’s fold. The party is holding a national workshop to train its women members on social media in Hyderabad later this year.EOM