Ahmedabad: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the state Bharatiya Janata Party seem to be reaching out to minorities within days of him being nominated as the party's Prime Ministerial candidate. Incidentally, this drive is coinciding with Modi's birthday on Tuesday, September 17, as the party has embarked on a drive to recruit members of the minority community.
The Bharatiya Janata Minority Morcha has decided to register about 1 lakh people belonging to the minority communities into the BJP. It is going to be a week long drive and will be held in all the districts.
"We are launching a massive drive to enroll 1 lakh people through each of our cells starting tomorrow, on Modi's birthday," said state BJP spokesperson, IK Jadeja. Various BJP cells, dedicated to affairs of minorities, SCs and STs and youths, among others, have been given a target of enrolling 1 lakh people each during the nine-day drive, which will culminate on the birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhayay.
"Besides the enrolment drive, some 20,000 BJP workers will carry out social work to strengthen the organisational structure of the party over the coming nine days," Jadeja said. BJP workers will spread awareness about the fight against malnutrition, distribute food at anganwadis, organise medical and blood donation camps and undertake tree plantation to celebrate Modi's birthday, he said.
The Congress has 'laughed out' at the BJP's drive saying the Congress doesn't need such drives. congress leader Rajiv Shukla said, "I can only laugh at it. Political parties should be such that people should join them. The Congress doesn't need any recruitment drive. The PM candidate should be above caste, creed and religion. He should be leader of the entire nation, should have everyone's support."
Meanwhile, the Gujarat Congress said it will stage a two-hour sit-in protest on the occasion of Modi's birthday to remind him of the tall promises made by him which are yet to be fulfilled. The protest is to be held near the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Income Tax Circle.
"Modi had promised a Rs 15,000 crore 'Van Bandhu' package for tribals, Rs 11,000 crore 'Sagar Khedu' package for fishermen and Rs 50,000 crore for development of various districts during his sadbhavna fasts in 2011," state Congress chief Arjun Modhvadia said, alleging that the above schemes were not achieving their goals.
(With additional information from PTI)