In a bid to reach out to people amid the ongoing Patel quota agitation, which might affect BJP’s chances in the upcoming local body polls in Gujarat, the ruling party has planned to promote the state government’s recently-announced scheme for bright students of the Economically Backward Category (EBC).
“We will reach out to the people and inform them about the recently-announced Mukhyamantri Svavlamban Yojana and for that we have decided to conduct group meetings and we will appoint ‘page pramukhs’, who will go to each and every booth and also conduct village meetings,” Gujarat BJP spokesperson I K Jadeja told PTI.
BJP appoints ‘page pramukhs’, whose task is to ensure that the voters listed in a particular page of the voters’ list can exercise their franchise in favour of the party. Jadeja was answering a query about the ruling party’s strategy to promote the Gujarat government’s EBC scheme in the upcoming local body polls when the state has been facing the brunt of the Patel quota agitation.
BJP leaders and workers held a meeting in Gandhinagar today to brainstorm on how to tackle the negative impact of the Patel quota agitation on their poll prospects in the coming local bodies polls. When asked if the Patel agitation will negatively impact the ruling BJP, Jadeja claimed the stir has settled down due to the special package for EBCs.
“The Patel agitation has settled due to the scheme which has been recently announced…If some incidents happen in the society, it will have both negative and positive impact. But for now we believe that the stir has settled down after the scheme announced by the Gujarat government,” he said.
Jadeja claimed that most of the Patel community members have welcomed the special package for EBC. “Some of them may have opposed it, but rest of them (Patels) have joined us and welcomed the scheme,” he said.
On a query about using page pramukh formula for the local body polls, Jadeja said, “We initiated this concept in the state assembly polls in 2012. It is a good formula which you can use in any polls and for the first time it is being used in local body elections.”
Earlier, the party used to give such responsibility to the booth level workers, but now dedicated workers will be there to campaign for the party among voters listed in a page of voter’s list. The state government had, on September 24, announced the package for the economically backward category irrespective of caste including scholarship for students and age limit relaxation for its jobs.
The ‘Mukhyamantri Yuva Swavlamban Yojna’ (Chief Minister’s Youth Self-Reliance Scheme) will benefit the students, irrespective of caste, whose family income is not more than Rs 4.5 lakh per annum. However, the package could not satisfy the leader of the Patel agitation seeking reservation under OBC category-Hardik Patel- who dubbed the scheme as “lollipop” and announced that he will continue his movement.
Patels, an effluent community of Gujarat, which is believed to be a traditional vote-bank of the BJP, has been agitating against the Gujarat government pressing for their demands for OBC quota.