Caught on the back foot over its conspicuous absence during the second wave of the pandemic and a groundswell of public fear and resentment, the BJP leadership has asked its leaders to be visibly more “empathetic and sympathetic”.
As part of this outreach, sources said, party leaders have been asked to step up their “social activities” to ensure delivery of medicines, availability of hospital beds as well as actively monitor the ramping up of health infrastructure, which includes installation of oxygen plants in government hospitals.
This comes when the second wave is spreading to rural areas and the party has locked horns with the Congress alleging here’s an attempt to malign the image of the Centre. In this context, it has highlighted what it called a “toolkit” which the Congress called fake and Twitter flagged as “manipulated media.” On Friday, the Centre told Twitter that this tagging was “prejudiced” and should be removed.
“It’s true that a negative narrative against the party and the government has been created,” a senior BJP leader admitted to The Indian Express. “We can work against it only after getting things back to normalcy. This is a time when many have lost their family members and near ones. It’s time we soothe their pain, ease their difficulties and stand with them. The party leaders as well as workers across the states have been asked to be empathetic and sympathetic to people.”
Party leaders said relief and rehabilitation for Covid victims will be part of the strategy in the next stage. On Saturday, BJP president J P Nadda asked party-ruled states to prepare a programme for the welfare of children orphaned by the Covid pandemic and said it should be launched on May 30 when the Modi government completes seven years in power.
In a letter to CMs of BJP-ruled states, Nadda also underlined that no event will be held to mark the anniversary of the NDA government. Instead, various welfare programmes will be launched to express the party’s “gratitude” to the people.
In parallel, BJP leaders, including MPs and MLAs, have been asked to visit hospitals and families in their constituencies who have lost any members during the Covid pandemic and ensure that they get assistance if required. “The MPs and MLAs should see that oxygen plants are installed in hospitals in their respective areas, they should get in touch with authorities of private hospitals for the availability of beds, distribute medicines and to be a moral support to the victims in their difficult times,” the BJP leader said.
This has also been the key message from Nadda to the rank and file over multiple virtual meetings held last week as part of “Seva Hi Sanghatan.” These included 34 state campaigns and 873 programs in districts until May 15. Nadda, sources said, has addressed party leaders and office bearers across states and has spoken with 316 MPs so far.
Over 3000 helplines have been set up by the party leaders across the country and more than 1200 blood donation camps have been conducted, party sources said. “More than 6 lakh party activists are into Covid-related social work,” said a party leader.