GUWAHATI, Aug 16 - Assam has registered the highest rate of growth among all the states in enrolment of new cadres during the ongoing membership drive of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Speaking to The Assam Tribune today, State BJP vice president Vijay Kumar Gupta said that the ruling party has been able to enrol 15 lakh new members so far during the drive, which started on July 6.
Gupta, who is also the State in-charge of the membership drive, said that the enrolment has been high among the religious minorities and the tea community.
“Along with the rest of the country, the membership drive for enrolment of new primary members in Assam also started on July 6 and it was supposed to have concluded on August 11. However, the exercise had to be suspended for a period of one week in mid-July on account of the floods. Following it, the period of the drive was extended till August 18,” he said.
Gupta added that the State unit had initially set a target to induct 11 lakh new members.
“However, the number was later revised upward to 15 lakh. The drive has been very successful and it can be gauged from the fact that the target for enrolment of 15 lakh new members was achieved yesterday itself,” said the senior BJP leader.
Among the new party members in Assam, 12 lakh have been enrolled through the online route, while another three lakh have secured membership using the conventional ‘offline’ method.
“The rate of increase in party membership percentage-wise has been highest in Assam among all the states so far. While in bigger states like Uttar Pradesh our party has far more members, the increase in new membership percentage-wise in Assam is the highest,” Gupta added.
Prior to the ongoing drive, the BJP had 29 lakh cadres in Assam. He expressed confidence that another 2-3 lakh new members would be enrolled by August 18, when the exercise for induction of new primary members of the BJP in Assam will conclude.
“Simultaneously, we have also started enrolment of ‘active members’ from August 12 and that process will continue till August 31,” Gupta said.
Active membership is offered to BJP cadres who fulfil certain basic criteria, including serving as a primary member for a period of three years, enrolling 25 new members on their own and taking part in the primary membership drive for a period of at least one week.
“We have set a target to induct 60,000 active members in Assam during the ongoing drive,” Gupta added.
Once the drive for induction of both primary and active members is over, the State BJP will carry out a fortnight-long verification process of the new cadres.
Gupta said that the membership drive has elicited very ‘good response’ in the Muslim-dominated areas of lower Assam as well as among the tea community in upper Assam.
“There are many booths in certain minority-dominated parts of lower Assam where our party hardly secured any votes in earlier elections. However, in those very same places huge numbers of people have now joined our party. This has happened because minorities have benefited equally from the development agenda and social welfare schemes of the Centre and state governments headed by our party,” he added.