New Delhi: Winning over the poor was at the heart of Saturday's meeting of BJP chief ministers with the party forming a committee to finalise a "garib kalyan agenda" and Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking them to work in "mission mode" to make their states a model for execution of his government's schemes, mostly aimed at benefiting the poor.
Modi exhorted them to work on multiple fronts to develop their states at a fast rate, saying they should not just move to one project after finishing another and instead take up several programmes together without showing any lapse. Chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Jharkhand — Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Devendra Fadnavis, Raghubar Das respectively — besides party vice president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe will prepare the poor's welfare agenda that will fix a few common goals for the party-ruled states besides identifying schemes which they could give special focus.
The day-long meeting here deliberated over six subjects, including welfare of the poor and farmers, woman empowerment, youth and employment besides good governance, with Modi speaking about a host of schemes covering these sectors.
"The Prime Minister asked us to work in mission mode; to take up several works at once and show no lapses. Then we can develop fast," Chouhan told a press conference after the conclusion of the meeting.
With the party and its governments facing attack from the opposition over issues concerning Dalits and minorities, it believes that a stronger emphasis on welfare schemes, especially targeting the poor, can firewall it against adverse political outcome and instead help it reach out to the weaker sections.
Chief ministers also gave a presentation of their government's works in line with the party's welfare agenda and how some of the schemes can be adopted by others.
Party leaders said good governance, development and pro-poor measures were the focus of the exercise and politics and coming elections in several states, including Uttar Pradesh, found no mention in their deliberations.
Modi also touched on the fact that the two medals won by India in the Rio Olympics were claimed by women as he underlined the need for woman empowerment.
"Our daughters have proved how capable they are," he said.
The committee formed to prepare the poor's welfare agenda will give its report in two-three few weeks, Sahasrabuddhe, who is also the head of the party's good governance department, said.
Modi told the party's chief ministers and deputy chief ministers to make their states a model for the effective execution of the central schemes.
He spoke about Ujjwala Yojana, which aims to provide LPG cylinders to poor households, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, skill development and farm insurance scheme among others. He asked the CMs to work for cent per cent Adhaar card enrolment and adoption of farm insurance scheme by all farmers. Schemes in certain states like water conservation by digging small ponds in Maharashtra and Jharkhand, several pro-poor and girl empowerment exercises in Madhya Pradesh, were also discussed.
While Modi delivered the concluding address, party chief Amit Shah inaugurated the meeting, which was also attended by the party's Parliamentary Board members and its presidents in the states where it is in power.
Asserting that BJP has ushered in an era of "politics of performance", its president Amit Shah asked the party's chief ministers to make their states an effective instrument for execution of the Centre's "pro-poor" and "good governance" agenda.
Noting that the party rules over 51 percent of the country's landmass and 37 per cent population, he said states would play a key role in the success of the Modi government's welfare policies as they are responsible for executing 65 of the 80 such schemes launched by it.