Amid t he intensifying political war of words, Himachal Pradesh is set to witness high-octane campaigning in the run-up to the elections on May 7
Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and Congress’ star campaigners All-India Congress Committee presi-dent Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi are expected to address a series of rallies in the four parliamentary constituencies.
Apparently realising t hat the battle is tough during these elections, the BJP seems to be banking on its mascot Modito gain electoral ground in the Congress-ruled state. The opposition party is planning to hold three public meetings to be addressed by Modi, after the seventh round of polling ends on April 27.
In the wake of hectic campaigning by chief minister Virbhadra Singh, the BJP had asked its central leadership to organise more rallies of national leaders in the state. Known for his tireless campaigning, Singh has held more than 90 rallies across the 55 assembly segments of the state so far, with five to 12 meetings or rallies a day.
“There is a high demand for Narendra Modi in the state. We have contacted his (Modi’s) campaign manager and requested him to hold more rallies in Himachal.
However, the only problem is that the demand is coming from various places across the state, but Modi’s campaign manager has told us that he can spare only half a day for Himachal,” senior BJP leader and chairman of the party’s election committee Ganesh Dutt told Hindustan Times.
“His rallies will be planned for after elections get over in the neighbouring Punjab on April 30,” Dutt said, adding that the party was planning to hold three rallies in one day.
“We are planning to organise rallies in Mandi, Palampur and Solan segments, as Modi has already addressed a mammoth rally in Sujanpur on April 24 to bolster the campaign of Hamirpur candidate and son of for mer CM Prem Kumar Dhumal Anurag Tahkur,” he added.
While the party had planned that Nitin Gadkari would address people at Manali on April 29, Modi ’s scheduled addresses at three locations on the same day may lead to cancellation of the former BJP chief ’s rally.
The BJP’s Sirmour unit has requested that celebrities Smriti Rana, Hema Malini, Vinod Khanna, Navjot Singh Sidhu and other star campaigners visit the state, while party leaders in the areas bordering Punjab, especially in Bilaspur and Una districts, which come under the Hamirpur constituency, have requested the BJP leadership to sanction rallies of Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal and deputy CM Sukhbir Badal. BJP national president Rajnath Singh is also likely to address a series of meetings in Hamirpur.
Congress’ star campaigner Sonia Gandhi will address a rally in Mandi to boost t he campaign of chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s wife Pratibha Singh, the party candidate from that constituency, while her son Rahul will gar ner support for Rajinder Rana, who is challenging Anurag, in Hamirpur.
“The events have not been finalised yet, as we are yet to get confirmation from the Congress headquarters in Delhi,” party general secretary Harbhajan Singh Bhajji told Hindustan Times. Rahul is also expected to address a rally in the Solan assembly segment of the Shimla parliamentary seat.