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HindustanTimes Wed,22 Oct 2014

Battle intensifies but PM curtails rallies

Saubhadra Chatterji , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 28, 2014
First Published: 00:41 IST(28/4/2014) | Last Updated: 00:43 IST(28/4/2014)

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has further cut down on his limited campaign for these Lok Sabha elections even as the propaganda war has intensified sharply between the BJP’s Narendra Modi and the top leadership of the Congress.

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The PM will not go to his home state of Punjab as earlier scheduled and his plan to take Modi head on in Gujarat at a rally in Ahmedabad too, has been shelved.

Sources told HT that Singh has just one rally in Seemandhra on his agenda as of now. The PM had addressed Congress supporters in Bhongir in Telangana on Saturday.

Congress campaign strategists had scheduled a public rally for the PM in Punjab’s Amritsar on April 24. But as he had to go to vote in Assam that day, Singh cancelled his Punjab tour.

Sources added that Singh had earlier decided to campaign in Gujarat, which would have sent the political message of him taking on Modi in his home state, on development issues. But as his proposed rally coincided with Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s tour, he decided not to go.

The PM’s decision take a back seat, coincidentally, comes in the backdrop of the Congress’ mounting attack on Modi, with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s increasing presence in the electoral battle.

“When he (Singh) announced his retirement in January, it was quite clear that he wanted the younger generation of the Congress to take the lead in the party’s campaign,” said a source close to the PM.

 Singh has in this election travelled to Assam, Kerala and Telangana to campaign for the party while he had initially been invited for rallies in Delhi, Maharashtra, Haryana, Punjab and Karnataka as well.


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