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Did the BJP cash in on India’s love for missed calls?

Yesterday, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claimed that it was now the world’s biggest political party with 8.8 crore (88 million) members, in a report from PTI. Towards the end of last year, BJP had introduced a #JoinBJP scheme where giving a missed call to 1800-266-2020 would make a citizen a member of the BJP. According to a report in the Financial Times, PM Narendra Modi was the first to use this service after dialing the toll free number. The report added that some Congress leaders had also gotten “Welcome to BJP” messages with primary membership numbers. Curious beings that we are, we called the number and got the following SMSes: A TOI journalist replied to these SMSes with a “No. Thank you. I do not wish to be a member.” text message, to which he got an automated response: “Thanks for the info. Please ask family members, relatives and friends to give a missed call to 18002662020 to join the BJP. Chalo chale Modi ke saath!”. He heard from his friends that they’d gotten similar messages without knowing the source or action which got them enrolled as BJP members. Also read from the 2013 archives: Arvind Gupta, National Head, BJP’s IT Cell On Trolling: The Internet is an animal they can’t control. People talk about trolling. They believe that if they show their real identity, they will be hounded. There is a relationship between the two. He contacted Sushil Kumar Modi, a senior BJP leader in Bihar who told the…

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I'm a MediaNama alumna from 2015-16 (remember TinyOwl?) now back to cover e-services like food and grocery delivery, app based transport and policies, platforms and media in India.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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