As Amit Shah Reads Out Number, Hundreds Dial In For BJP Membership

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As Amit Shah Reads Out Number, Hundreds Dial In For BJP Membership

BJP president Amit Shah addresses a party rally in Kolkata on Sunday. (Press Trust of India)

Ranchi:  BJP president Amit Shah - addressing a public rally in Jharkhand where elections are being held over five phases - reads out a toll-free phone number and exhorts people present to sign up as members of his party. Many dial the number on their phones as he reads it out and lo, they are BJP members, with new membership numbers.

The BJP claims that almost 15,000 people signed up at the four rallies in Jharkhand that Mr Shah addressed today by dialling in as he spoke. Political rivals say many of the people are making an impulse purchase.

"This is not a membership drive but business being generated for mobile companies by generating so many SMSes." said Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha or JMM.

Mr Shah recruits new members this way at most of the public meetings and rallies he addresses nowadays. Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he launched a new membership drive exactly a month ago, the party is reporting lakhs of new members from different states.

Prime Minister Modi had tweeted yesterday, "I was told that the membership drive has crossed 1 crore figure in less than a month! Congrats to Karyakartas (party workers) for their efforts."

He also tweeted,  "Friends, I urge you to give a missed call on toll-free number 1800-266-2020 & join the BJP to build a strong, developed & inclusive India."

The target of the tech-savvy BJP is 10 crore new members and the dial-a-membership is the easiest way to sign up. The entire process takes about five minutes and requires no details to be provided.

As it seeks to expand its base all over the country, the BJP is looking to bulk up its cadres in states that are poll bound, like Delhi, where elections are expected in a few months and those like West BEngal, where it hopes to make rapid gains by the time state elections are held in 2016.



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