With Kiran Bedi as its chief ministerial candidate, the BJP has decided that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would address fewer public meetings in the Capital in the run-up to the February 7 elections, sources said.
The party would promote Bedi and not bank solely on the “Modi wave”, sources said. The BJP wanted the polls to be a direct fight between Bedi and AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal, sources said.
“Modi ji’s rallies will be held wherever needed. We cannot give a number at this point. But I don’t think there would be too many. Other senior leaders will also campaign in the city,” Delhi BJP Satish Upadhyay said.
The PM was to hold at least 12 rallies but would not address more than seven now and that, too, would depend on his schedule, sources said.
The party is drawing up Bedi’s campaign plan that would include road shows, public meetings and even meeting morning-walkers.
The central leadership, said sources, was also unhappy with the state unit over the January 10 rally that Modi addressed at Ramlila Maidan, which saw a poor turnout.
“Modi ji is our Prime Minister and he has too many engagements and hence he can’t be everywhere. However, he will still address a few rallies,” a party leader said on condition of anonymity. “…It is a state election and the CM candidate needs to visit all the constituencies.”
Party leaders also cited US President Barack Obama’s Republic Day visit to point to Modi’s busy schedule.
Four days after the she joined the BJP, the party Monday declared Bedi the CM candidate, leading to protests within the party.
Outside, her archrival Kejriwal said in picking Bedi, the BJP had conceded defeat. She had walked into a trap and would be a scapegoat for the BJP’s defeat, he said.
The state unit had drawn up a list of 40 star campaigners, including union ministers Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari and CMs of BJP-ruled states, Upadhyay said.
Spike in Google searches for Bedi
Google Trends, a tool which reflects the volume of searches on Google, shows that interest in Kiran Bedi has indeeed spiked since she joined the BJP.
The figures for the last 30 days show that while interest in Modi and Kejriwal remained consistent throughout, that for Bedi shot up even higher than that for the Prime Minister by 60:40 on the days after she was inducted.
This need not be read as an approval rating as Google Trends only reflect reader interest, and not positive or negative sentiments.
Bedi vs Kejriwal
Bedi vs Modi
Kejriwal vs Modi