As big names join BJP, workers raise a brow

As big names join BJP, workers raise a brow
BJP national general secretary and in-charge Nagaland, Ram Madhav, along with state BJP leaders and intending candidates at the felicitation programme in Dimapur on January 22.


Morung Express News

Dimapur | January 23

In 2017, as the regional Naga People’s Front’s grassroots workers struggled with whose basket to put their eggs in, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s grassroots workers in rural Nagaland went door-to-door bringing new members on board. Each primary member who got 100 new members was eligible for active membership. Each worker contributed to slowly building a robust organization for the BJP that is often looked at with a raised eyebrow in Nagaland.


However, with the induction of several high profile members about a month before elections to the State, grassroots workers are the ones raising the brow.


“We have been asked to strictly follow norms but is the Party itself following norms?” asked a visibly flustered grassroots BJP worker who joined the Party in 2014. Perhaps due to lack of communication and fast paced inductions, apprehensions are rising.


Joined for stable governance & economic development: Zhimomi

Jacob Zhimomi, for instance, who joined the party on Monday, January 22, said he was given both primary and active membership of the BJP. This was possibly because with him, the entire rank and file of the Naga People’s Front of Ghaspani-I joined the BJP even though Zhimomi had been an independent MLA in the 12th Nagaland Legislative Assembly.


According to Zhimomi, he has had long standing engagement with the national Party but was able to join “in a legal manner, without being disqualified,” only now.


“My supporters initially wanted me to join the regional party as most of them are elders, culturally rooted and attached to Naga national interest,” explained Zhimomi while speaking to The Morung Express.


“But there is a new development in the regional party every day. Young leaders like us are looking for stable governance and economic development of our people. The BJP is in a position to give this leadership, so I joined the BJP,” said Zhimomi, whose 4 Ghaspani-I Assembly Constituency in Dimapur district, is home to 130 Naga villages.


This was obviously a big win for the BJP in Nagaland.


Older workers, however, fear that big wins, like KL Chishi, Y Patton, Zhimomi and, with them, their supporters, will take away the limelight and eventual candidature for BJP tickets to the upcoming elections.


A BJP karyakarta maintained, “First preference should be given to ground cadres!”


Building grassroots cadre was one of the blocks that contributed to the BJP’s many countrywide wins.


Lipokmar Tzüdir, a fresh entrant to the political game in Nagaland, acknowledged this even as he joined the BJP on January 22. “We were hoping for an able leader to rise from our area who is capable of defining policies for the area but that did not happen which is why I joined,” said Tzüdir. “It is a dilemma for the grassroots workers but new leaders will not sideline them. At BJP, we intend to work together and build on their work to help grow the Party,” he assured.


Workers need not be worried: Kikon

BJP MLA Mmhonlumo Kikon stated that workers need not be worried as the party “appreciated the loyalty and enthusiasm” of the grassroots cadre. While “we have only brought new entrants, not given tickets yet,” Kikon maintained that tickets to candidates are approved by a parliamentary committee/board of the Party. In each constituency, criteria could be different—“winnability, loyalty, impact on general prospects of the Party, many things are considered,” said Kikon.


“Then what is the point of the corruption-free-governance slogan if Party rules are not followed?” wondered a long time Party worker from an eastern district who has been asked to get approval of his mandal, district and the state units to be considered for BJP candidature to elections in his constituency.


As more than 10 political parties enter the battle of the upcoming Nagaland State elections, many parties, albeit less disciplined and organized than the BJP, will face this question as they attract contestants. The road to the ticket game is set to be rough.