BAREILLY: In a massive campaign targeting all 1.23 lakh polling booths of Uttar Pradesh, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal cadre have formed 15-member teams for each booth to conduct door-to-door meetings to talk about the electoral planks on which the BJP is running its campaign, including demonetisation, the Ram temple, terrorism and the uniform civil code. In damage-control mode following criticism of the demonetisation policy, the saffron groups are going to great lengths to explain how the move will benefit the people, and how it is the banks who are to blame for the inconvenience caused, not the ruling BJP at the Centre.
Cadre have been assigned different topics to defend to the voters in various regions. While demonetisation is being addressed in the constituencies in and around Bareilly, in Agra, Mathura and adjoining districts, saffron activists are drumming up support for construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya. Elsewhere in the state, discussions on terrorism and the uniform civil code are also on the agenda, said VHP and Bajrang Dal leaders. The campaign is the most extensive to have been launched by the saffron organisations in the recent past.
In Bareilly district alone, 15-member teams have been set up for each of 2,552 polling booths. In addition to door-to-door interactions, the teams are also addressing small gatherings to make people understand that “the motive behind demonetisation was to cause inconvenience to terrorists and corrupt people, not the public” according to a VHP leader.
“We explain to people that they should ignore the problems due to cash shortage because the move was taken in the interest of the nation. We remind them that a family may face problems when their house is being whitewashed, but it helps them for many years to come,” said Manvendra Rana, Bareilly district president of the VHP.
The activists have also been telling people who they think should actually be blamed for the inconvenience they suffered. “We point out to the people that the main reason behind non-availability of cash in the past few months was mismanagement by banks. Senior leaders of the BJP can’t be blamed for this,” said Rajveer Singh, Bareilly district convenor of the Bajrang Dal.
In Mathura, Agra and Vrindavan, it is the Ram temple and uniform civil code on the agenda.
“We are informing the people that the focus of the central government is to secure the borders of the country and introduce uniform civil code for equality. We point out that a few get subsidies for religious pilgrimages, but others don’t,” said Anuj Kumar Singh, convenor of Bajrang Dal’s Braj region which comprises 12 districts.
“During a meeting with VHP members, farmers told them how demonetization has crippled them because they could not buy enough fertilizer or seeds. However, the activists told farmers that they should cooperate because it was for the betterment of the country,” said Saurabh Yadav, resident of Biknapur in Faridpur here.
A resident of nearby Keshuva village, Mayank Tiwari, added that VHP and Bajrang Dal cadre had been going around telling people demonetisation has controlled terror activities across the country.