New Delhi: BJP President Amit Shah has asked party leaders to engage in an aggressive "word of mouth" campaign to highlight the Centre's pro-poor and farmer works and not be deterred by negative media reports as they gear up to face crucial Assembly polls, starting from Bihar in September-October.
With the saffron party facing the opposition heat over alleged dubious links of its senior leaders with former IPL boss Lalit Modi, Shah asked them not to be swayed by critical reports and instead highlight the numerous pro-poor works of the Narendra Modi government, party sources said.
Shah gave these directives in the meeting of the party's office-bearers yesterday, the first such exercise after the National Executive meeting in Bangalore April this year.
BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma said Shah spoke about 24 key initiatives taken by the central government in the first 12 months of its tenure and how they were aimed at the welfare of the poor and farmers.
The government policies highlighted by the party chief included Jan Dhan bank account, insurance and pension schemes for the poor and Pradhan Mantri Sinchai Yojna for the farmers.
He also asked leaders to highlight how the government relaxed criteria to pay damages to farmers and fought for their rights at the WTO.
Digital India, Make in India and Skill India campaigns also found a mention, sources said.
"He told us to engage in a robust word of mouth campaign by reaching out to people. He said we should not be swayed by negative media reports and instead highlight the good works of the Centre as well as states ruled by us," sources said.
BJP also highlighted the formation of an 'OBC Morcha' at the meeting yesterday and said it was an important initiative to reach out to a community which plays a crucial role in the politics.
"Other Backward Castes influence politics across the country... And are in large numbers in the north India," the party said in a statement.
The party has been wooing the community, which are a group of numerous intermediary castes and anywhere between 40 to 50 per cent of population, in poll-bound Bihar. They have traditionally backed regional satraps like Lalu Prasad, Nitish Kumar and Mulayam Singh Yadav but the BJP has succeeded in winning over a section of them over the years.
Following Assembly polls in Bihar, elections are due in West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu next year, and Uttar Pradesh in early 2017, among the big states.