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HindustanTimes Tue,21 Oct 2014

BJP's experiment: Modi tea stall near Rahul's interaction venue in Raipur

Ejaz Kaiser , Hindustan Times  Raipur, January 29, 2014
First Published: 14:55 IST(29/1/2014) | Last Updated: 15:15 IST(29/1/2014)

As Congress workers will gather on Wednesday in Chhattisgarh capital Raipur to listen to party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, they will also find their way to a Narendra Modi tea stall set up near the venue.

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Rahul will visit Raipur in the afternoon to hold a dialogue session with party workers and leaders where he is expected to take questions and address the gathering at the city's indoor stadium.

The timing and venue of BJP's tea experiment to connect with the voters is going to raise eyebrows.

The responsibility of managing BJP prime ministerial candidate Modi's tea vendor symbolism - Chai Choupal and Chai pe Charcha - has been taken up by the state unit of Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM).

The campaign is centred around tea stalls and is meant to take Modi's message to the heart of local political discussions in India and remind people of his own humble origins as a tea vendor.

It also aims to turn the jibes made about Modi's tea-seller background by rival politicians in recent weeks to his advantage.

Modi will officially launch the campaign on February 1 in Gandhinagar, by interacting live with people at 1,000 tea stalls across 300 parliamentary constituencies using a combination of internet, television broadcast technology, mobile and social media platforms.

"We are setting up mobile tea stalls at various points across the city to offer tea free of cost. It might be a sheer coincidence that today's spot is close to the venue where Rahul Gandhi is visiting. Our aim is just to run a campaign in support of BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, who gets the opportunity to assume nation’s top responsibility as against the Congress where the dynastic rule prevails," the BJYM state president Anurag Singhdeo told Hindustan Times.

He insisted that they have nothing to do with the Congress event.

"The date-wise spot selection had been planned earlier," he said.

The Congress has criticised the move and said that it's not a mere coincidence that the BJYM hopes to stir up their campaign on Modi through the tea stall close to the venue.

"The BJP is known to create needless controversy," said Congress spokesperson Shailesh Nitin Trivedi.


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