By Anindya Banerjee
New Delhi, Jan 24 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not be exposed much in the poll campaign for the February 8 Delhi Assembly election. Sources say he may restrict himself to just two rallies.
While one rally is expected to be on February 6, the day when campaigning ends, the other rally too is likely to be in the first week of February. The first rally, sources say, is likely to be held likely to be held on February 2 or 3. However, no final decision has been taken yet, pending an okay from the Prime Minister himself.
While BJP did not reveal the venues yet, IANS has learnt that one venue will be in the East Delhi and the other in the western part of the city.
The idea is to keep the Prime Minister free of electoral pressure till the crucial Union Budget is presented on February 1. The Budget session starts on January 31 this year.
It is widely believed that PM Modi’s exposure has been deliberately restricted this campaign season, considering the different poll trackers predict an Aam Aadmi Party sweep. This apparent conscious move is to steer clear the opposition’s probable attempt to blame the BJP’s results, if poor, on the PM. Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP’s new President J.P. Nadda have taken the lead in the campaign instead.
Meanwhile, BJP has finalised a list of 40 star campaigners who will be strategically used in different assembly constituencies. They includes many of its Chief Ministers — Uttar Pradesh’s Yogi Adityanath, Haryana’s Manohar Lal Khattar, Himachal Pradesh’s Jai Ram Thakur, and Uttarakhand’s Trivendra Singh Rawat. Union Ministers like Rajnath Singh, Prakash Javadekar, Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani, Thawarchand Gehlot and Hardeep Singh Puri will also canvass for the party, which will make it look like a team effort rather than a ‘Modi Show’ and hence the credit or blame for the same has to be shared equally.
Interestingly, PM Modi had double the rallies in the 2015 when Kiran Bedi was projected as the Chief Ministerial candidate of the BJP. This time, the BJP is going to election with ‘Modi’s face’. Earlier speaking to IANS, BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi said: “It is the ‘lotus’ that will fight in each of the seventy seats of Delhi.”
Keeping the rallies at the fag end of the campaign is also to leave a strong impact, just ahead of election day, on the electorate, many of whom voted for the BJP in the Lok Sabha election, according to IANS-CVoter Delhi poll tracker.
With polls on February 8, the results will come out on February 11. While the ruling Aam Aadmi Party is tipped to be the black horse in the race, the BJP too is desperate to come back to power in Delhi, where it has been out of power for over two decades now.