BJP starts widespread surveys to prepare plans for ’24 LS poll battle
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prepares for the Karnataka assembly elections next month

New Delhi: Even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prepares for the Karnataka assembly elections next month, it is carrying out a much larger exercise to win more seats in the 2024 parliamentary polls and a key tool towards this end has been to conduct extensive surveys, party functionaries said on Sunday.
Party officials said Union home minister Amit Shah is supervising exercise to win more seats in the 2024 parliamentary polls (PTI).
At least four widespread surveys will help formulate the BJP’s strategy to fight the general elections next year, according to three persons involved in these plans being supervised by home minister Amit Shah.

While some surveys are on and will continue till 2024 to maintain a dynamic campaign, four key survey results are being tallied by party president JP Nadda to decide the strategy for the Lok Sabha polls by May, exactly a year before the general elections, the people cited above said, seeking anonymity.

One of the ambitious surveys was conducted by 40,000 booth workers, covering 100,000 booths across all 543 parliamentary constituencies and polling 10 million respondents. “The idea came from the Prime Minister,” said a key functionary who was part of the team of eight persons in Delhi that coordinated the results from all states.
“The PM said that we should try to get booth-level data of why we lost 160 seats in the last elections,” he said. “Last May, the party began the exercise using the Saral app. All booth workers, helped by 2,000 state level representatives, asked respondents why they didn’t vote for the party and what they found attractive about other candidates.”
“We were able to get in all responses by November, but the data is so vast and threw up such micro information about so many booths that we are still making sense of all that it has thrown up,” the functionary said. It ranged from Tamil Nadu and Kerala, where the BJP is yet to make inroads, to collecting data from booths in constituencies in which the BJP lost in Gujarat.
There are 3-4 main reasons why the BJP loses an election, according to this survey, the functionaries said. The first and most obvious reason is that the rival candidate was preferred. “In such cases, there isn’t much that we can focus on other than perhaps try to convince that person to join the BJP,” they said.

The BJP has successfully taken in 211 MPs and MLAs from other parties between 2014 and 2022, 177 from the Congress party alone.
A second reason for losing, according to worker responses in the survey, was infighting. This problem exists in all states and the party is using the survey results to send a message to district and state units to sort out internal messes.
However, it’s the third reason for defeat thrown up by the survey that has attracted the most attention from the party brass. “We found that in many cases, the state government was piggybacking on our schemes and people thought that they were the local government’s schemes,” said the leader quoted above.

One instance of this was on display in Telengana in September, when finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman objected to a ration shop for not displaying Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image. “We are trying to tweak the programmes so that if the central scheme gives free rice, it comes pre-packaged, and the local government isn’t able to piggyback on it,” the leader said.
The survey takers were also given another key task besides noting down responses. They had to identify an influencer in each booth. This could be a local teacher or a local lawyer, someone who people looked up to. The party then planned to draw them into its campaign, with some leaders paying them a visit if they were campaigning in the area.
The final move to win over tough constituencies will be a visit by Modi. While he doesn’t plan to go to all 160 of those where the BJP lost in 2019, he will visit at least 40. Of the remaining 120, Shah will visit 60 and Nadda the rest. During each visit, there will be a programme to meet beneficiaries of government schemes and influencers.

“The detailed plans will take time to be firmed up, but the PM will only focus on governance,’’ said a second leader involving in planning. The party’s booth to Lok Sabha strategy has truly taken off. (Courtesy: The Hindustan Times)