Ahmedabad: With exactly 12 days left to the December 1 first phase polling for the high-octane Gujarat elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is poised to hold 20 rallies for three consecutive days beginning November 19 while the BJP on Friday unleashed 15 national leaders to carpet-bomb the campaign turf.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah is focussing hands-on on the logistics and the party organisation trying to douse the wave of dissent across as many as 40 assembly constituencies where sitting MLAs were dropped to make way for fresh faces. Shah has been camping in his home state.
Voting in 89 out of 182 constituencies
Narendra Modi will address 20 rallies out of the 200 public addresses planned by the BJP over the next three days. The Prime Minister is expected to cover Navsari, Valsad, Dhoraji, Amreli, Botad and Surendranagar districts in his campaign.
As many as 89 out of the total 182 State Assembly constituencies will witness balloting for the first of the two phases, with the next round on December 5.
Having won the first time in Gujarat in 1995, the BJP is seeking a seventh victory in a row in an election which is crucial for it given that the results now would have an impact on the ruling party’s prospects in the Lok Sabha elections.
The national leaders, including BJP president JP Nadda, will address public meetings in 46 constituencies. The remaining 36 seats would be covered by 14 Gujarat-level leaders, including Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and State BJP chief CR Paatil.
Besides Nadda, six union ministers, Nitin Gadkari, Narendra Singh Tomar, Anurag Thakur, Faggan Singh Kulaste, VK Singh and Bharati Pravin Pawar. “It’s the BJP’s master stroke to have so many rallies and public meetings in one day. All the leaders after addressing public meetings will start door- to-door campaigning for the next three days.
Other CMs on campaign trail
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh counterparts Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Yogi Adityanath will also be on the campaign trail. And so will Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, his Uttar Pradesh counterpart Brijesh Pathak, Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Suvendu Adhikari, BJP Yuva Morcha national president Tejasvi Surya and Ladakh MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal.
Meanwhile, by Thursday night – the last day of withdrawal of nominations — Amit Shah had already brought around three rebels to withdraw their candidature as independent candidates while he has directed senior leaders to hold meetings with the other sulking leaders who were also denied tickets in the “larger interests of the party’s victory.”