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Modi flew 1 lakh km in 50 days for poll juggernaut: PM campaign in numbers

Modi’s rallies began with the one in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh on March 28 and, before concluding at Khargone in Madhya Pradesh on Friday, he addressed 15 million people, met at least 10,000 senior BJP leaders, Shah said. These leaders included MPs, MLAs and party’s regional heads.

lok sabha elections Updated: May 17, 2019 22:58 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Delhi
Lok Sabha elections 2019,PM Modi,BJP
PM Modi at the BJP press briefing in Delhi on May 17, 2019 (Mohd Zakir/ HT photo)

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) began the legwork for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections at least a year ago, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing 142 rallies in the last 50 days to cap a frenetic campaign that ended on Friday with the start of the silence period for the final phase of polling two days later.

BJP chief Amit Shah, addressing a press conference in the national capital along with Prime Minister Modi, said the campaign was the “most hardworking, extensive one since Independence, and Modi’s outreach was unprecedented”.

“Senior workers of the party started working at least six months ahead of the campaign launch. More than 7,000 Lok Sabha steering committees were at work,” Shah said at the briefing where he also declared that he party would secure a victory in at least 300 of 543 seats.

In the 2014 polls, the party won 282 seats to storm to power in what became the first single-party majority government in three decades.

To target a similar performance, the party leadership assigned specific task to its leaders, identified areas where it could expand, and put in place a mechanism to monitor developments on a real-time basis.

Every state got steering committees – between 14 and 21 depending upon the size of the state– to take care of specific assignments, and a committee dedicated to every Lok Sabha constituency was also set up. At least 11 kinds of programmes – such as booth-level conferences and bike rallies– were launched before the prime minister began his tours.

Modi’s rallies began with the one in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh on March 28 and, before concluding at Khargone in Madhya Pradesh on Friday, he addressed 15 million people, met at least 10,000 senior BJP leaders, Shah said. These leaders included MPs, MLAs and party’s regional heads.

In all, Modi covered 100,500 km by air and road. On April 18, one of the days when he clocked the most mileage, he travelled 4,000 km to go from a meeting in Amreli (Gujarat) to Bagalkot and Chikodi (both in Karnataka), and Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala).

Most of PM’s rallies were held at places where the temperatures hovered between a searing 40-46°C. Rudrapur in Uttarakhand (March 28) was the highest location of his rally, and Thiruvananthapuram the lowest. At 46°C, Itarsi in Madhya Pradesh (May 8) was the hottest venue for a PM rally while Aalo in Arunachal Pradesh on March 30 was the coolest at 18°C.

Modi’s rally in Kolkata on April 3 had the maximum attendance – approximately 500,000, the BJP chief said.

Shah, too, travelled extensively. Between January 6 and March 8, he addressed 61 conferences of clusters (a group of polling booths) and held 43 other political events. He spoke at 161 rallies and held 18 road shows after the elections were announced.

At an average of 1,166km a day, he travelled a total distance of 158,000 km. Union ministers Rajnath Singh (129 rallies), Nitin Gadkari (56 rallies) and Sushma Swaraj (23 rallies) were other prominent campaigners. Yogi Adityanath (135 rallies) was ahead of other chief ministers in campaigning.

“Put together, senior leaders of the BJP held more than 1,500 rallies during the election,” Shah said.

The party ran 14 different campaigns, such as ‘Modi hai to mumkin hai (With Modi, it’s possible)’, “Main bhi chowkidar hoon (I too am a watchman)” and ‘ek baar fir Modi Sarkar (Modi government once again)’.

Shah said the party had set up 161 call centres across India and 15,682 workers of the BJP reached out to 248 million beneficiaries of government schemes. “The party sent out 93.8 million text message,” the BJP chief said.

According to Shah, thousands of volunteer led the offline and online campaign of the party.

“This was a campaign where participation of volunteers was highest. Slogans such as ‘main bhi chowkidar’ and abki baar modi sarkar’ were coined by the volunteers and workers, and the party machinery just took it ahead,” Shah said.

First Published: May 17, 2019 22:58 IST

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