New Delhi: Post the bypoll wins in Uttar Pradesh and government formation in Karnataka, the opposition mantra to fight the BJP is clear: stay together. There have been talks about a mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) to take on the BJP, though a concrete plan regarding the same is yet to emerge. The Congress and other opposition parties have been conducting rallies to reach out to people. The BJP too is watching the developments taking place and firming up its own strategy to counter a united opposition.
The BJP swung into action after more than 140 farmers from major sugar-producing states — Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttarakhand and Punjab — met the Prime Minister last month. Soon after, the cabinet approved a hike in minimum support prices (MSPs) for kharif crops so that they are 50% higher than the cost of production, not including land costs. This includes a Rs 200 per quintal increase in the MSP for paddy. On the other hand, BJP president Amit Shah has been touring state after state to drive home the party’s message. Shah has been meeting party vistaraks, booth managers, and chalking out the success roadmap for the party. In essence, both the party and the government are in poll mode.
Sources say that BJP strategists have decided to conduct farmer rallies all over the country. In line with it, the first such rally was held at Muktsar in Punjab on July 11. At the rally, PM Modi accused the Congress of using farmers as a vote bank during nearly 70 years of its rule as it believed in serving the interest of only ‘one family'. Another big farmer rally has been planned in UP’s Shahjahanpur on July 21. This will be followed by a rally each in Odisha and Karnataka. The PM is expected to talk about government initiatives at these rallies, especially the initiatives taken for farmers.
PM Modi opened the UP campaign when he inaugurated Samsung’s mobile manufacturing plant, touted as the biggest in the world, in Noida. Building on this, PM Modi will be touring Azamgarh, Varanasi and Mirzapur on July 14-15. The PM will spend a night in Varanasi, his Lok Sabha constituency, on July 14. He will also attend a rally in Shajahanpur on July 21 and another in Lucknow for a smart city programme on July 29. It is expected that the PM will hit out at the mahagathbandhan plan of the opposition.
Sources say that before Lok Sabha dates are announced in February next year, PM Modi will have completed almost 50 rallies throughout the country. As Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh go to polls later this year, October and November have been marked out for separate rallies by the PM for these state elections.
Other than PM Modi, senior leaders too will conduct their own own separate rallies. Sources say Amit Shah, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari will also hold rallies. These senior leaders too will complete 50 rallies by February next year. Each rally will cover two to three Lok Sabha constituency. This means that by next year the BJP will have completed 200 rallies and reached out to 400 Lok Sabha constituencies. The move is expected to get the party in shape in time to take on a united opposition.
The BJP chief has reportedly declared that the party will be election mode after August 2015 and thus the PM address to the nation from the ramparts of Red Fort on Independence Day will be keenly watched. The BJP feels that it will win in Madhya Pradesh and Chhhattisgarh. Even though Rajasthan appears weak, but the party is hopeful that things will turn for the better in this state as well.