The evolution of the BJP, from a cadre-based party, to a leaders’ party, was evident during the meeting of booth-level workers, Shakthi Kendra Pramukhs on JK Grounds here on Wednesday.
The meeting was for leaders of Shakthi Kendras, groups of five booths each, from four MP constituencies — Mysuru-Kodagu, Mandya, Hassan and Chamarajanagar. There are a total of 12,000 booths under these four MP segments, but neither the registration nor the attendance matched this figure, according to the organisers.
Insiders said that as the party is not strong in Mandya, Hassan and Chamarajanagar constituencies, not much representatives were expected from there.
“However, even from Mysuru-Kodagu segment, the attendance was not on expected lines, due to political reasons. Even if one party worker represented each booth, where the party has a base, the attendance of ‘pramukhs’ would have crossed 6,000. If the venue, where seating arrangement was made for 4,000 members, looked full, it was because of the party members, who claim to be ‘leaders’,” they said.
“These ‘neo-leaders’ do not want to identify themselves as ‘party workers’. They attend party events for their ‘progress’. They fancy greeting popular leaders, mostly those in power, take selfies with them, and introduce their ‘supporters’ to the leaders. At best, they can act as messengers during events and add to the head count,” sources said.
“Our leaders say that elections are fought in the booths. They accord little importance to media propaganda, both traditional and new media. But, the values among the booth-level workers is gradually eroding.
“Earlier, most of the party workers were committed, now, they seek ‘commitment’ in return. Earlier, most of the workers were trained in various branches of the party. They used to get specialised training in various wings of the Sangh Parivar. Now, we get ‘instant workers’ and ‘instant leaders’ with little knowledge about the organisation and its principles,” said a senior party worker.
Another party worker pointed out that the meeting, which was scheduled for 11.30 am, started at 12.20 pm, a deviation from punctuality. “The organisers were shouting on the microphone, asking the party workers to be seated in the enclosure. Still, many workers were seen roaming around outside the enclosure. Another deviation from the BJP tradition is the presence of ‘uninvited leaders’ on the dais. Besides, there were a lot of people on both sides of the dais. They were reluctant to join the audience, despite several pleas by the organisers,” he said.
“The BJP workers nowadays lack discipline. It was evident when the organisers distributed biscuits and plantains. They were rushing to grab the food items. National organising secretary B L Santhosh himself had to announce that the food items will reach them. Besides, at a time when our leaders are making tall claims about cleanliness, the venue was badly littered post-event was over,” an elderly party worker said.