Lok Sabha elections 2019: PM sets 3 targets for workers, stresses ‘incumbency wave’
The three targets are: to ensure increased electoral participation of women; to reach out to firsttime voters; and to maintain civility in political discourse.Updated: Apr 27, 2019 13:00 IST
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday set three targets for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in Varanasi and assured them an incumbency wave across the country will stun political experts when results for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections are declared.
The three targets are: to ensure increased electoral participation of women; to reach out to firsttime voters; and to maintain civility in political discourse.
Referring to the campaign model followed by the party in Gujarat, where Modi was the chief minister before he contested the 2014 general elections, he suggested that the BJP workers should personally reach out to families in their respective areas over the next few days and spend time with them.
“This does not incur any expenditure, and helps lowering the cost of contesting election. We did it in Gujarat ,” Modi said. “The election in Varanasi should be such that political experts are compelled to write a book on it after the election.”
The results for all seven phases of the general election, which ends on May 19, will be declared on May 23.
“The job of winning Kashi was done yesterday,” Modi told a gathering of over 3000 BJP workers, before he filed his nomination papers for the Varanasi parliamentary constituency, from where he is the sitting Member of Parliament. “Media has also lost its interest in Varanasi, because there is no TRP any more. But you don’t have to be complacent,” he said. TRP refers to television rating point, which indicates the popularity of a television channel among its viewers.
On Thursday, the Congress ended speculation about its general secretary in charge of east Uttar Pradesh, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, contesting from Varanasi, and fielded former legislator Ajay Rai. The prime minister also held a six kilometre-long road show in the temple town, and took part in the evening prayers on the banks of the Ganga river on Thursday.
“For every 100 votes of men in a booth, the number of women voters should be 105,” he told workers. Of a total of 1.8 million voters in Varanasi, 800,000 are women.
As per figures provided for the first two phases by the Election Commission of India, the voter turnout among women has surpassed that of men — 68.53% compared to 68.01% in phase 1, and 69.47% compared to 69.40% in phase 2.
Modi also exhorted party workers to make a list of all firsttime voters, irrespective of their political affiliation. Of a total of 900 million voters, 84.3 million are first-time voters, including 15 million in the age group of 18-19 years according to the Election Commission.
He also asked BJP party workers to restore the lost bonhomie that once existed between political adversaries. “Treat opponents with respect. Don’t get carried away by the heat generated in television studios, where leaders from different parties have heated arguments,” Modi said.
He asked the workers to respect their rivals. “They are also participating in the election process to make democracy stronger,” he said.
The Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party alliance in the state has fielded Shalini Yadav in Varansi. In 2014, in the first parliamentary election of his career, Modi won by a margin of 371,000 votes against Aam Aadmi Party chief, Arvind Kejriwal. With no heavyweight candidate in the field this time, Modi’s election managers are hoping for a bigger victory margin.
“BJP’s strategy starts from the booth. When the party starts campaign at the level of polling station, it comes to know which way the wind is blowing,” said political analyst KK Mishra, a professor at the political science department of Benaras Hindu University. Modi said he has shown in the past five years that the prime minister’s post is not for “mauz masti (enjoyment) or chahca-bhatija (uncle-nephew)
and bhai-bahan (brother-sister)”, but to serve the country. Modi said BJP workers in Varanasi were fortunate that they do not face what their counterparts in Kerala and Bengal have to. Both the states have seen bloody clashes between the ruling party and BJP workers, claiming lives.
“In law and order the state is first in the country. If anyone flouts the law he will be dealt with sternly. In BJP-ruled states RSS workers easily get away after committing serious crimes but in Kerala this will not happen,” said Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, in a statement released on social media on Friday.
“I don’t think he (PM Narendra Modi) is aware of the ground reality. He is going to face huge antiincumbency on May 23. He will realise this when the results come out,” senior Congress leader Rajeev Shukla said.
Samajwadi Party spokesman Abdul Hafiz Gandhi, “Modi speaks the opposite of what he does. He talks of love and respect but spreads hatred and enmity in the society.”
First Published: Apr 27, 2019 13:00 IST