By July 17, BJP National President Amit Shah will have a comprehensive report on what the results of 2018 elections will be in Karnataka. The BJP already has a sense of how many seats it will win as a sure shot from Gujarat, all thanks to the party's Vistarak Yojana. With elections in mind, the BJP has created its own intelligence wing from within party ranks.
With the Vistarak program, the BJP is deputing its workers to unfamiliar booths for 15 days in a year, some within the state and some across. In Karnataka alone, more than 11,000 BJP workers have already undertaken the Vistarak program. While the party maintains that it is aimed at seeking selfless service from members, what it is not putting in words is how it has turned its members into an army of intelligence officers.
Selfless service or a spy mission?
"For 15 days in a year, a worker has to go out of his/her constituency and work for the party in unfamiliar grounds. I believe in taking a cue from the party president who started from Naxalbari. If I work in my constituency or the one next to it, I am basically strengthening my vote bank and follower base but the point of the Vistarak program is to get members work for the party selflessly. There is nothing you get in return except gather strength for the party," said a BJP office bearer who is all set to go on the Vistarak program.
As part of the Vistarak program, the party is also sending special pairs of eyes to gauge the mood of the people, their response to the BJP and other parties and probable candidates from the constituency and on the whole, 'if the BJP has a chance to win from the booth'. The hoard of information will then be used to choose the candidate for the constituency.
"Despite being in power for such a long time in Gujarat, the BJP leadership is not worried about the assembly elections. The target of 150 seats that Amit Shah has set for Gujarat is not a wild target but a well assessed one. The Vistarak program has done a great deal of good to the party here. Even if there are early elections in Karnataka and it clashes with polls here, the BJP won't worry. For us, battle in Gujarat is already half won," said a BJP leader assessing the situation in Gujarat.
Why Congress should be worried
The Congress in Karnataka is relying on their internal survey and police intelligence report currently and claim that they will win a comfortable majority. The BJP, on the other hand, is relying on its own tactics to assess the situation at hand. Amit Shah's brain child, the Vistarak Yojana is much like the RSS' Pracharak concept.
"The party neither wants to spend nor wants the Vistaraks to spend money. Idea is to travel with as little baggage as possible. Vistaraks will not stay in hotels but will be hosted by party workers in every booth. Food will also be served by other party workers. The concept is to let go of my personal as well as political life for 15 days and dedicate it for party development," said a BJP leader.
The information that the Vistaraks will collect will be comprehensive since it is from every single booth across the state. There is neither question of influence or favour since the booths will be unfamiliar territory for the Vistaraks. There is just one rule, 'report what you see and what you hear'.
"Imagine the quality of election material we will acquire. Information from every single booth will help us assess where we stand. With this we have the time to take corrective measures in places where we lack," said another BJP office bearer. The information from Karnataka will be compiled and handed over to Amit Shah when he visits the state in August. This is the BJP's plan of internal/external survey ahead of elections in poll-bound states. And this being the centenary celebration year of BJP ideologue Pt Deen Dayal Upadhyay, the yojana Vistaraks pay tribute to him.