Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi is the “ultimate crowd puller” and people are not interested in “other leaders”, said a BJP poll manager on Tuesday.
That explains the thin attendance at the meetings and rallies of BJP’s national leaders, including party president Nitin Gadkari, in poll-bound Gujarat.
On Tuesday evening, Gadkari addressed two public meetings in Surat city, traditionally a BJP bastion, but at both places there were only a few hundred people in attendance.
Similarly, rallies addressed by Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his Chhattisgarh counterpart, Raman Singh, also failed to draw the crowds. “We have observed that at some places people did not turn up as we had expected, so we have asked our workers to ensure that the rallies are adequately attended,” a BJP leader involved in the campaign strategy said.
National leaders of the party have already addressed as many as 75 rallies in Saurashtra and south Gujarat regions where voting will be held in the first phase on December 13.
Besides Gadkari, CMs from other BJP-ruled states and national-level leaders — barring party patriarch LK Advani and leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj — have been brought in by the ruling party to campaign.
The poor attendance at the big-ticket meetings in urban areas, which are considered strongholds of the party, has shown that Modi is the party’s biggest star campaigner.
“People are not interested in other leaders so we have organised 3D campaigns for Modi so that he can address gatherings at multiple places simultaneously,” a BJP poll manager said, adding that Modi will address gatherings at 26 places using the 3D platform on Thursday.
Also, Modi will address more than 50 public meetings during electioneering that will begin after all candidates are declared.
“Aggressive campaigning will begin only from December 1,” said a party leader.