Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah will address a farmers’ rally in Allahabad and visit Varanasi on Tuesday, stepping up the party’s efforts to woo voters ahead of the crucial 2017 election.
Shah’s rally comes four days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose Saharanpur in western Uttar Pradesh to mark two years in office, virtually launching the BJP’s campaign in this political bellwether state.
Shah was expected to talk about the state election and also highlight schemes launched by the Modi government for farmers and the common man at the Sardar Patel Kisan Maha Rally, party sources said.
Accused of being pro-industry and anti-farmer by rivals, the BJP has been underlining various welfare programmes introduced by the Centre, including a farm insurance scheme and the Jan Dhan Yojana that aims to provide banking access to all.
Several senior party leaders have been in Allahabad, where the BJP’s executive will meet on June 12 and 13, reviewing the preparations for the rally.
Shah will reach Allahabad after having lunch with a Dalit family at Jogiyapur village in Modi’ Lok Sabha constituency of Varanasi, a move seen as a part of the party’s larger plan to connect with Dalits, who Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party counts as its core vote-bank.
The BJP is also looking to address the sense of alienation in the community, which constitutes about 17% of the country’s population and dispel the impression of being a party that provides little space to Dalits.
Shah may also visit Nagepur, one of the two villages adopted by Modi in Varanasi. Earlier this month, the BJP chief took a holy dip with Dalit sadhus in the Kshipra river at the Kumbh in Ujjain.