The BJP has turned to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to shore up its fortunes in the upcoming Delhi elections in the face of aggressive campaigning by the Aam Aadmi Party and thin crowds at over 1,000 meetings by party MPs.
Modi will kick off the BJP’s poll campaign at a rally in central Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan on January 10, to be attended by chief ministers of Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and leaders from Jammu and Kashmir.
The party has already started installing hoardings highlighting the good work done by the PM and is planning to go only with Modi as its face for the poll campaign.
Local leaders have asked the PM to address at least three rallies after January 10 in areas such as east Delhi’s Trilokpuri, outer Delhi and a Dalit-majority constituency.
“Modiji is a role model of development and when we go to the public, we will give his example and show how he is fulfilling promises made before the Lok Sabha elections. He is the party’s face and our agenda is good governance,” said Shikha Rai, Delhi BJP’s vice-president.
Reports of AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal’s growing popularity and its posters pitching the polls as a direct contest between the former CM and BJP’s Jagdish Mukhi have also made the saffron party jittery.
“The party feels there is no other face and that is why Modiji will be used. We will fight the polls under his leadership instead of going with a CM face,” said a senior BJP leader, requesting anonymity.
The BJP secured 33.07% votes in the 2013 assembly polls and was unable to form the government with 31 seats but the Modi factor during the Lok Sabha elections helped up its vote share to 46.1% and a clean sweep of all seven Lok Sabha seats in the Capital.
Delhi has been without a government for almost a year now since Arvind Kejriwal resigned as CM in February this year. Elections, however, will only be held in the second week of February, party sources said, giving them enough time to campaign.
“We have a meeting at 28 assembly constituencies on Sunday where voter lists will be scanned and party president Amit Shah wants eight workers at every polling station. Every worker must scan details of at least 100 voters and keep in touch with them,” the leader said.