After tasting success with the Narendra Modi wave during the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP is once again making the PM its face for the electoral campaign in the coming assembly elections.
Not only will Modi address around 30 rallies in Maharashtra and Haryana, but the party has coined a new slogan, ‘Chalo Chalein Modi ke saath’.
The move speaks of Modi’s continued popularity, but also BJP’s overwhelming dependence on the PM and absence of other strong local faces.
In a briefing, BJP national vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters that Modi will kick off his campaign on October 4 – addressing rallies in Karnal in Haryana, and Kolhapur, Beed and Mumbai in Maharashtra.
The PM will subsequently campaign every day between the 4th and 13th of the month. Naqvi told HT that eight to ten rallies are planned in Haryana, while BJP’s Maharashtra in-charge Rajiv Pratap Rudy had said on Tuesday the PM would address 22 to 24 rallies in the state.
The BJP has usually projected chief ministerial candidates in state polls – but it has chosen not to do so in this round given the absence of strong leaders with a strong mass base.
Gopinath Munde’s death in June left a void for the party in Maharashtra, while the absence of any alliance in Haryana means that BJP will have to decide on a name depending on its numbers and post poll scenario.
In contrast, Congress president Sonia Gandhi is addressing seven rallies – three in Haryana and four in Maharashtra, while vice president Rahul Gandhi is addressing 13 rallies – four in Haryana and nine in Maharashtra.
Accusing the Congress of corruption in both states, Naqvi said, “Our target is to get both states rid of the misrule of the Congress and establish golden era of BJP’s good governance. Our main agenda is good governance and development.”
Other leaders too will pitch in, with president Amit Shah scheduled to campaign for five days each in the two states from Saturday.
Top cabinet ministers including Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Venkaiah Naidu and Nitin Gadkari; BJP chief ministers Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Vasundhara Raje, Raman Singh, Anandiben Patel and Manohar Parikkar, as well as senior leaders L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi too will address rallies.
But the central message from the BJP campaign will remain the same as the one in the Lok Sabha – a vote for the party is a vote for Modi.