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BJP has a new election 'war room'

By Aasha Khosa in New Delhi
March 23, 2009 10:32 IST
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The changing dynamics of election campaigns have made the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party shift its chair-and-table equipped election war-room to a hi-tech computerised office, which is manned by young professionals from diverse fields, who are working as volunteers.

The new 'war room', located in the renovated out-house of the Tughlaq Crescent bungalow of party MP Anant Kumar, has an extension nearby in the house of party vice-president Venkaiah Naidu. "We were short of space here, hence some of us started working from there," says Prodyut Bora, who heads the "National IT cell" of the BJP.

Barring the tense meetings of the central election committee in which the party finalises the names of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections, all crucial election-related meetings of the party are held in this new office, according to sources. All the senior leaders in charge of election management visit the place every day.

Sudhendra Kulkarni, political advisor to LK Advani, presides over the new office that is known as "L K Advani's election office", while a team of 12 professionals -- young banking professionals, IIM graduates and even farmers -- work on the party's campaign for the coming Lok Sabha elections.

Robin Rapaai came from Coimbatore to join the BJP's campaign office, after working as a software consultant in US. The 40-year-old quit his job with a multinational company to take up organic farming in a small 10-acre farm in Coimbatore.

"I was always attracted to the BJP because of its nationalistic vision, strong leadership and belief in meritocracy," said Rapaai.

He worked on the IT vision document of the BJP which was released recently.

"In a country as diverse as ours, a piecemeal approach will not work and that is where BJP can make a difference," he said.

Malika Noorani came from Mumbai after quitting her job as an executive in a leading international bank. "I wanted to do something that went beyond the routine and as I have always followed the BJP and its politics, I opted for this," says Noorani, a graduate from a US university. "I have saved enough to take this break," she said.

Harsh Kabra, a fresh MBA graduate from IIM Kolkata, said he had called BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate to get this job. "One day finally Advaniji himself came on the line and asked me to work for his election campaign after passing out from IIM."

Kabra, at the conclusion of the Lok Sabha election, is all set to join one of the world's leading consultancy firms.

Bhanu Chandra was working with Pricewaterhouse Cooper in Chennai before joining the BJP as a volunteer in New Delhi. After his brush with the BJP at the age of 28, he doesn't rule out a career in politics. "Just as well, I left PwC" he said with a wry smile.

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Aasha Khosa in New Delhi
Source: source