The Bharatiya Janata Party is all set to celebrate one year in the state government later this month, but it faces a serious public relations disaster. The party’s legislators, who met senior leaders in Mumbai on Thursday, observed that the BJP has failed miserably in communicating decisions taken so far to the people of Maharashtra.
The BJP rally held at Wankhede stadium last year, before the swearing-in ceremony of Devendra Fadnavis as chief minister of Maharashtra. File pic
A closed-door meeting was held on Thursday at BJP’s Dadar office to discuss the anniversary plans. CM Devendra Fadnavis, state BJP chief Raosaheb Danve and other senior leaders interacted with legislators, office-bearers of state units and frontal organisations.
“A common refrain, especially from the legislators, was that the party was unable to reach out to the people with its achievements. The government has taken good decisions, but it has not been able to derive political mileage out of them,” a senior leader told mid-day after the meeting, adding that the ‘poor PR’ issue was debated intensely.
CM Fadnavis told the delegates that they should not celebrate the anniversary but go to the people to tell them how good policy decisions will benefit them. “Connecting people will be the best way to negate false propaganda against our government. We must be able to differentiate between good governance being given by us and bad governance by the Congress-NCP in the past 15 years,” he said.
In the meeting, it was suggested that the party organisation should shun lethargy that has crept in after the Lok Sabha and Assembly wins and work even harder to impress the voters.
An 11-member panel headed by Danve will plan events to be held between October 19 (the day BJP emerged as the single largest party last year) and October 31 (the day Fadnavis and his Cabinet took oath at the Wankhede Stadium last year). The Sena joined the BJP’s minority government in December. The two have been at war ever since.
Contrary to expectations, the meeting did not discuss the Sena and its shenanigans. “We didn’t waste our time discussing the Sena because our priorities are different. It’s our (BJP) government and the people have expectations from us,” said a senior minister after the meeting.
“After all, it’s a matter of perception. People form their opinion based on perceptions (of things done by the government). This government has really done some good work in the past 11 months, and we just need to be effective in telling that to the people, especially when the atmosphere is not so conducive,” said a party general secretary, requesting anonymity.
The BJP wants to highlight a few policy decisions taken by the government:
>> Jala Yukta Shivar (rural water conservation scheme)
>> Reduction in power tariff across Maharashtra (except Mumbai)
>> Ease of doing business
>> Online approvals for services provided by state government
>> Ambedkar Memorial
>> New Metros in Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune