Modi to take centrestage in UP

Lucknow: Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi is all set to storm Uttar Pradesh soon. Sources in the BJP here say the party wants to run an aggressive campaign laced with ‘Hindutva’ for the Lok Sabha election, and no one would be able to do that better than Modi. So, no one should be surprised if Modi starts bellowing about the Ram temple in Ayodhya at rallies across the state from next month instead of tom-tomming his development model.Modi’s programme is yet to be finalised, but state BJP leaders are virtually unanimous that the Gujarat chief minister’s campaign could improve the party’s tally in the state from the present 10 MPs. Sources say the BJP plans to focus on the 69 seats which the party has held at some time.

“There is great expectation and excitement in the party rank and file over Modi’s proposed campaign in UP. Even people who are not committed to the BJP are looking forward to seeing and hearing him,” said state BJP spokesman Vijay Pathak. State BJP chief Laxmikant Bajpayee also confirmed that there were plans to hold rallies in the state with Modi taking the centrestage along with other top leaders.

With as many as 80 Lok Sabha seats, UP holds the key to the Centre, and the party wants its star campaigners to start touring the state before the monsoon starts, a BJP leader said, adding that Modi could definitely brighten the party’s sagging electoral fortunes. The sentiment in the saffron brigade vis a vis Modi had become clear on January 21 this year when slogans of “Modi lao, desh bachao” were heard during the “Atal Shankhnaad” rally in Lucknow. The same spontaneous slogans were heard again at the state BJP chief ’s rally at Sonebhadra in east UP last Sunday.

HOW BJP lost
UP initiative
2012 (Vidhan Sabha election): 15 %
2009 (Lok Sabha election): 17.50 %
2007 (VS): 16.97 %
2004 (LS): 22.17 %
2002 (VS): 20.12 %
1998 (LS): 36.49 %
1996 (VS): 32.52 %

The thinking in the state BJP here is that the party would not be able to ignore Modi’s charisma even if it were at the cost of losing the second biggest NDA partner, the JD(U). Political analysts say both the regional outfits in UP, the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the BSP, would be badly affected if the BJP names Modi as its prime ministerial candidate. “Once it becomes a Modi vs Rahul Gandhi contest, it would be a direct clash between the BJP and the Congress, and the SP and BSP would be edged out,” a senior political journalist said. “In such a situation, the Muslims will move en masse towards the Congress,” he added.

It is perhaps this thinking which has forced BSP chief Mayawati to say that the “Modi factor” will not work in UP while SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav has been indirectly propping up LK Advani against Modi.
HINDUTVA cry BJP workers are excited as Guj CM is set to address a string of rallies in the northern state

Deepak Gidwani @dgidwani123
DNA 20APR2013

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