With the first round of polls less than a fortnight away, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has asked central BJP leaders and chief ministers of BJP-ruled states to lend a helping hand in the campaign.
A month ago, Modi had told BJP and RSS bigwigs that he could do it alone. Now, even as he remains the principal campaigner, Modi agrees with other BJP leaders that a series of meetings by leaders from other states will "heighten" the tempo in all constituencies going to polls.
So, chief ministers of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, and the deputy chief minister of Bihar will join 50 central leaders including LK Advani, Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and M Venkaiah Naidu in what will be the BJP's second "carpet-bombing" between December 2 and 4. They will address rallies and public meetings in 200 places. In the first "bombing" on November 27, 87 national and state BJP leaders addressed over 180 rallies.
Foregoing his "aloofness", Modi has been speaking to central BJP leaders on the campaign. On Thursday, BJP leaders like Arun Jaitley, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Om Mathur held a 3-hour meeting in Ahmedabad on ways to keep up the momentum of the campaign.
BJP leaders don't admit that Modi's change of heart reflects waning confidence. "We are simply employing our best expertise gained in other states and Gujarat to peak our campaign," Naqvi, who looks after election management at the national level, said. "The idea is to keep our cadres and voters enthused in favour of the BJP. Modi is the star campaigner. Other leaders will act as force multipliers for a big impact."
Naqvi, who moved in after Modi spoke to him, added: "We want the campaign to percolate to the ground-level so that each voter gets the message about corruption-free development under Modi."