As a private jet carrying L.K. Advani comes to a halt in this Naxalite-affected heartland and heavily armed Black Cat commandos scurry to provide cover, you may think terrorism and security are all that matters in this election.
More so, after Advani told a group of journalists travelling with him why he thinks terrorism is one of the main issues before the next Lok Sabha polls.
But, minutes later, as he gets ready to address his first public rally here for the first phase of polls in Chhattisgarh on Friday, you see a different Advani who seeks to connect with a different, tribal audience.
It is development, as speakers preceding him set the tone, talking about just rice, some salt and water — reminding you of the polls in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh five years ago when the slogan was sadak, bijili and pani (roads, power and water).
Despite a recent Naxal attack on a BJP leader, Advani skips any mention of terrorism or Naxalites (which is left to Ravi Shankar Prasad, party in-charge for polls, to ask the ultra Left to give up weapons and face the people).
Instead, you hear him talk about rice and salt — what the BJP has offered as freebies since April under a new scheme initiated by Chief Minister Raman Singh and what Ajit Jogi, undeclared Congress CM candidate, is willing to match.
Advani said: “As Home Minister, I was happy that the NDA created the new state of Chhattigarh. I am proud today that our CM has made development the main poll issue.”
He thinks the CM stole the show by selling rice for Rs 3/kg and salt at 25p/kilo to poor families in what has been rated as one of the most popular schemes of the state.