Narendra Modi tops campaign chart | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Narendra Modi tops campaign chart

LK Advani may be BJP’s prime ministerial candidate but it is Narendra Modi that the party wants for its poll rallies. Modi is in greater demand than Advani.

delhi Updated: Mar 23, 2009 22:09 IST
Shekhar Iyer

L. K. Advani may be BJP’s prime ministerial candidate but it is Narendra Modi that the party wants for its poll rallies. Modi is in greater demand than Advani.

More and more BJP leaders want the Hindutva poster boy, who mixes ideology and the development plank, to be in their states to pull in crowds. The Gujarat chief minister is key to the party’s high-voltage campaign waiting to take off on a hired fleet of eight fixed-wing aircraft and 12 helicopters standing by for its leaders.

Modi will address nearly 270 meetings — one in each of the party’s key Lok Sabha constituencies. This follows requests for Modi sent to the party’s central control room from units across the country. Advani’s tally falls way short in comparison, though the number is not known yet. He will focus on key cities and semi-urban areas for maximum impact.

Both Advani and Modi, however, will begin their campaign together in Gujarat on March 27 when the BJP’s countrywide campaign will be formally launched. Continued from Page 1 Once upon a time not too long ago, it was Advani who did more rallies, as the bigger crowd puller, while A.B. Vajpayee did fewer, each chosen for maximum regional impact. The shoe is now on the other foot.

“Advani travelled more than Vajpayee in previous election campaigns,” said Amitabh Sinha, BJP’s official responsible for organising campaign tours of leaders. “While Vajpayee as the PM candidate chose specific regions for maximum impact, Advani went to individual constituencies. This time Modi will be doing what Advani did previously.”

The BJP has decided to do away with “carpet-bombing” style campaigns of previous years — when all senior leaders were out addressing rallies at the same time all over the country. Therefore, compared with Modi, other second-line BJP leaders will travel over shorter distances than previous times.

BJP president Rajnath Singh will focus on the Hindi heartland while Sushma Swaraj will be “deployed” where women voters can swing it for the party. Arun Jaitely will concentrate on addressing urban centres, more specifically middle-class voters under a new banner called “Friends of BJP”.

Others being drafted for campaign include former Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje and Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Modi who will travel beyond their states. Modi, of course, will travel the most.