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HindustanTimes Sat,25 Oct 2014

Modi to address rally in Delhi today: how will he woo city?

Shekhar Iyer, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 29, 2013
First Published: 10:11 IST(29/9/2013) | Last Updated: 10:40 IST(29/9/2013)

BJP prime minister candidate Narendra Modi's address, his first rally in Delhi after being anointed as his party's face for the 2014 polls, will have to serve twin purposes.

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One, the BJP is the best bet to replace the Congress-led UPA at the Centre and seriously challenge Sheila Dikshit’s Delhi regime, which is not looking tired yet for a fourth term in office. Secondly, his leadership alone is enough to overcome every shortcoming that the BJP faces in its mission.

Therefore, it should surprise no one if Modi launches a full scale war on top Congress leaders, their acts of omission and commission, without any exception.

Many BJP leaders expect Modi will not forget to "puncture" Rahul Gandhi whose latest "angry young man" act on the UPA government's ordinance -- to protect convicted MPs and MLAs -- has sought to salvage the Congress' image and present a reinvented new political generation.

Modi would be forced to take on the "dual-power" centres which, he believes, have "befooled" the people over the last 10 years. For the BJP, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh may not be the real "villain" as Rahul Gandhi's outburst has left his political position more untenable.

Yet, Modi cannot be soft on Singh. All his rallies so far have seen the Gujarat chief minister launching a blistering attack on the PM and Delhi would be no exception.

Undoubtedly, going by the hype, Modi will address one of the biggest, grandest and most expensive hi-tech rallies the BJP has ever held in the capital.

Modi's critics say the grand show itself is an admission that, despite being out of power for 15 years in Delhi, the BJP has no face to put forward to the Delhi electorate against a popular chief minister Sheila Dikshit, who has not betrayed any worry about her fourth attempt.

It is no secret among the power elite that Dikshit's success will not just ensure another term for her in the chief minister’s office but may also pitchfork her to a more important profile in the Central Congress set-up.

Who knows she could be in the reckoning for the top slot post-2014 if the numbers force Sonia Gandhi to look for an alternative arrangement to the present one led by Dr Manmohan Singh.

Hence, Modi's campaign will have to attempt to demolish the image of Dikshit and her 15-year governance record in Delhi. And, the BJP has to use the so-called ‘Modi Magic’ to try facilitate its victory. Its election cry – ‘Badlenge Dilli, Badlenge Bharat’ (Change Delhi, Change India) – captures the essence of its hope: Modi would ride to central power in 2014; and more immediately, the BJP would capture the Delhi assembly.


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