Post his anointment as BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is set to address his eighth public rally in Uttar Pradesh marking his heightened interest in a state that would make or mar his ambition to lead the country.
Modi’s rally tomorrow in Lucknow is his first attempt in the new role to strike a direct rapport with the city whose heart beat for former Prime Minister and BJP patriarch A B Vajpayee. The BJP’s PM candidate has so far covered seven parliamentary constituencies in the state: Kanpur (Oct 19, 2013), Jhansi (Oct 25, 2013), Bahraich (Nov 8, 2013), Agra (Nov 21, 2013) Varanasi (Dec 20, 2013), Gorakhpur (January 23, 2014) and Meerut (Feb 2, 2014).
While the party is tight lipped about wherefrom Modi would contest, many believe he might finally choose UP as his new political ‘karmashetra’. It would, therefore, be interesting to see whether on Sunday Modi also declare his candidature for general elections from UP.
Being the largest Indian state in terms of number of seats (80), UP traditionally holds a special place in general elections. The state has given the country maximum eight out of 14 Prime Ministers. But what is Modi’s pitch in his seven big-ticket UP rallies? A cursory glance at his speeches in the state shows that Modi has equally blamed Congress, Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) for “poor growth” in the state.
For instance in his first visit to the state in Kanpur after being anointed the party’s PM candidate, Modi urged the voters to uproot the ‘trioka’ from UP. He said, “UP must be made free of the trioka of SP, BSP and Congress.” In Jhansi, he said, “Congress’s arrogance, the SP’s dynasty politics and BSP’s personality cult (vyaktiwaad) can’t fulfil the people’s aspiration. Likewise, in Agra, Modi asserted, “SP and BSP were born out of Congress' sin of votebank politics.”
Interestingly, Modi also gave some new slogans in his addresses in the state. For instance, in Kanpur Modi said, “From Kanpur the clarion call of Congress Mukt India must come. Earlier, it was for Swarajya; now it is for Surajya”.
In Jhansi, Modi revealed that the trinity of SABKA (SA: Samajwadi Party, B: Bahujan Samaj Party, KA: Congress) has destroyed Uttar Pradesh. Likewise, in Varanasi, Modi while targeting SP argued, “Jo Ganga nahin sambhal sakte, woh desh ko kya sambhalenge?” In Gorakhpur, Modi said, “…you gave 60 years to rulers, I request you to give only 60 months to us. We are sevaks (servants of people), we will work day in and day out for your prosperity."
In Modi’s election campaign in the state, party president Rajnath Singh has accompanied him in each rally so far. There has been speculation in the political circle that in general elections Singh may replace party’s sitting MP from Lucknow, Lalji Tandon.
Other than Modi, AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal and Congress Vice- President Rahul Gandhi have also been touring UP this week.