Prime Minister Narendra Modi will embark on the 'Mission Maharashtra' by holding three election rallies in different parts of the state, including Mumbai from October 4. The BJP's star campaigner is expected to address 15-20 such rallies before the state goes to assembly polls on October 15.
The PM will begin the campaign by seeking Lord Vitthal's blessings in Pandharpur from where he would proceed on to Kolhapur and Beed, before reaching Mumbai for a rally at the Mahalaxmi Race Course.
BJP insiders said they chose Kolhapur to launch Modi's campaign because of its socio-political significance. The city signifies social engineering by Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj, who was the first to offer caste-based reservations in jobs and education, and it also has goddess Mahalaxmi's temple.
The BJP has been able to penetrate southern Maharashtra in the Lok Sabha polls in which the party won Sangli and Solapur seats, but missed Kolhapur (given to Shiv Sena) by a whisker. The party expects Modi to hammer the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which still is a formidable force here.
Modi will also travel to Beed, yet another NCP bastion, where late Gopinath Munde was making an effort to revive the party since Lok Sabha polls.
The BJP plans to decimate the NCP from the district where Munde's daughter Pritam is contesting Lok Sabha bypolls.