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HindustanTimes Thu,10 Jul 2014

A rath yatra to tell Modi’s ‘success story’ to farmers

Shekhar Iyer, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 05, 2013
First Published: 23:50 IST(5/10/2013) | Last Updated: 23:54 IST(5/10/2013)

Another Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)  rath is winding its way in what was once India’s first prime minister Jawarharlal Nehru’s Lok Sabha constituency of Phulpur-Allahabad.

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This time, it is not for invoking Hindutva but to woo farmers by publicising Narendra Modi’s success story in Gujarat’s arid lands that have seen an agricultural boom in the last decade.

As directed by Modi and his confidant Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh BJP leaders led by Sidharth Nath Singh, are steering the rath through the constituency, which Nehru won in India’s first parliamentary polls in 1952 and again in 1957 and 1962.

Singh, who is seen as a prospective BJP nominee, says, “our slogan to farmers is desh ki mitti, desh ki shakti! (country’s soil is country’s strength). Our yatra was launched by Rajya Sabha deputy opposition leader Ravishankar Prasad on October 2, which was Shastri’s 109th birth anniversary.”

During the yatra, Singh, a grandson of India’s second prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, invokes his famous slogan of 1965, “jai jawan, jai kisan” (hail the soldier, hail the farmer).

Also, a film is shown during the yatra which begins with Modi’s tribute to Shastri as the pioneer of India’s agriculture growth story and recalls Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s “jai vigyan” (hail the advent of science) call.

Amit Shah, BJP’s in-charge for Uttar Pradesh, will address the yatra on October 9. He had prayed at the makeshift Ram temple in Ayodhya on July 6, inviting criticism that the BJP was reviving a divisive agenda. The yatra will end on October 11, the birth anniversary of anti-Emergency hero, JP Narayan, when it is addressed by BJP vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

On September 9-10, Modi hosted 4,500 farmers for “Vibrant Gujarat Agriculture Summit 2013” in Gandhinagar, to showcase practices to highlight India’s agricultural potential.


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