New Delhi: In a bid to strengthen its connect with the grassroots, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) plans to tap public funding and contributions made by sympathizers to set up a national network of party offices.

According to the plan, the BJP will have a party office in each of the 630 districts of the country which, in turn, will be connected through video conferencing to the state and national headquarters in Delhi.

“BJP doesn’t have offices in every district as of now, but by 2016, it will all change. We have offices in 280 districts and the party will construct offices in 350 of the remaining districts. The idea is to build a system in which all districts remain connected to each other and not just to the party headquarters in Delhi," a senior BJP leader involved in the process said on condition of anonymity.

The idea was conceived by BJP president Amit Shah. The BJP is keen to focus the initial efforts in building district offices in areas where the party has little presence, with special emphasis on southern and north-eastern states.

Political analysts say the exercise will help the BJP build a national network and also to improve its visibility in different states.

“This kind of network building has never been tried before in the country. Other political parties, especially Congress, should learn from the methods adopted by the BJP to increase its mass base. The BJP won the Lok Sabha elections because of its visibility and that is exactly what the party is now trying to achieve through this effort," said Ellora Puri, a Jammu-based police analyst and political science professor at Jammu University.

Among the states in south India where the BJP has a weak base are Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Telangana. BJP has a presence in Andhra Pradesh, where it is in alliance with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and in Karnataka. The BJP is also looking at expanding its support base in north-eastern states.

“During the Lok Sabha elections, we realised that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president and other senior leaders were able to speak to party workers across the country while sitting in Delhi or any other city in the country. We are now trying to make a system where this can be a two-way process where people can speak and discuss different issues. This will not only give district units a sense of connect with Delhi but will also improve accountability in the party," the BJP leader cited above added.

The BJP is also in the process of building e-libraries which will have a detailed history of the party at the national level and the role of each district unit and its leaders in building the party since the days of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh. “These e-libraries will be connected to state level e-libraries which will have information on similar lines and at the national level also. We want to build e-libraries at the national level also about who are the top 100 leaders of the party and what was their role," said the BJP leader. The BJP will also collect information about issues taken up by the party in the last two general elections and assembly elections in each state.

“There is no information about what were issues raised during the elections, who were the leaders and what was result of elections in different constituencies. This kind of information will help us in better election planning in future elections and selection of candidates in constituencies," the BJP leader added.

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