Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), India’s ruling party which currently leads the National Democratic Alliance coalition, has become the largest political party in the world, with nearly 80.8 million members, overtaking the Communist Party of China.
According to BJP’s vice-president Dinesh Sharma, the numbers of members have grown to 80.8 million till March 29, surpassing China’s Communist Party (CPC), which has nearly 80.6 million members. This staggering growth in the cadre-based party has worked as a confidence booster to BJP president Amit Shah’s vision of enrolling 100 million members in the party.
Just Dial: Target 100 million
The BJP initiated a hi-tech drive, in which one could become a party member by just dialing a mobile number. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched this drive in November last year by renewing his membership through the assigned mobile number for the campaign. Although the number of enrollments fell short of the set target of one billion memberships by March 31, 2015, this strategic move has worked in the BJP’s favor, as nearly 10 million people have joined the party in the last eight days.
Founded in 1951 as Bharatiya Jan Sangh, under the leadership of Syama Prasad Mookerjee, it merged with several other political parties after the 1977 emergency into a grand anti-Congress coalition, called the Janata Party. After defeating the Congress Party in 1977 general election, the Janata Party dissolved in 1980, and the Bhartiya Janata Party was reborn. In the 1984 elections, the BJP won just two seats. The party’s fortunes saw a sharp turnaround after the Ram Janmabhoomi Movement in 1989. The BJP went on to lead ruling coalitions at the centre in 1998 and 1999. Today, the BJP party has become a political juggernaut, especially since Mr Modi emerged as the undisputed leader of the party and led it to a spectacular victory in the 2014 elections.
The BJP members said that maximum enrollment came from Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP is aiming at forming its government after the 2017 assembly election. With the upcoming election in Bihar in 2015, Shah is likely to extend this drive, which might work well for the party’s ambitions to win this crucial eastern state.
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