While it is evident that BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is the poster boy of the party this Lok Sabha elections, recent banners and pamphlets also sported images of senior leaders who played a vital role in building the party.
On the occasion of the party’s 34th foundation day yesterday, the BJP’s city wing took the opportunity to pay tribute to top brass leaders — AB Vajpayee, LK Advani, Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj.
Making space: Party workers displayed banners sporting images of its top brass leaders, along with Narendra Modi on the occasion of its Foundation Day
After receiving much flak from the Congress and other parties for giving undue prominence to Modi over other senior leaders, attempts were made to change this. This was also done to silence speculations of there being any rifts within the party.
Party workers distributed pamphlets among voters with images of its experienced leaders and also of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, showing that all is well with the BJP and Shiv Sena.
BJP’s Foundation Day celebrations saw a countrywide ‘Ghar Chalo’ campaign to reach out to the voters in various constituencies. Back home, the party’s city wing claimed to distribute 10 lakh pamphlets while campaigning for their party.
The concept of the pamphlets was the brainchild of three party leaders including former standing committee chairman Ganesh Bidkar, the party’s western Maharashtra spokesperson Shripad Dhekane and party worker Rajesh Pande.
Regarding their sudden urge to include senior party workers in the campaign, Dhekane said, “It was our way of expressing gratitude to these senior leaders.”
He added that although the party was prominently riding on the Modi wave, party workers were also committed to other senior leaders. Putting the differences with the Sena aside, Bal Thackeray’s image was also displayed on the pamphlets.
“Bal Thackeray is still being worshipped in Maharashtra, so his image was must,” added Dhekane.
Cong slams BJP
For the last few months, the party has received flak from the Congress and NCP for keeping the party’s senior force out of the limelight.
In a recently held public rally in the city, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, lashed out at Modi for undermining senior leaders to acquire the prime minister’s post. The Congress and NCP leaders even went on record saying that they felt sorry for former PM Vajpayee, who has disappeared from BJP’s posters and pamphlets.
Responding to these comments, Dhekane added, “This is not true. We are still committed to the message that was declared 34 years ago on the party’s foundation day by Atalji and would follow it.”