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40 rallies in 14 days: Yogi begins his marathon campaign for civic polls

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Yogi Adityanath is the first UP chief minister to campaign for local body elections, calls these polls a referendum on his 7-month-old government.

New Delhi: Seven months after being elected to power, Yogi Adityanath is back in campaign mode but this time for municipal polls – a first for a UP chief minister.

Yogi kick-started his campaign from Ayodhya Tuesday in the presence of state BJP president Mahendra Nath Pandey and other senior state leaders.

The UP chief minister has a packed schedule for the next two weeks, during which he will address 40 rallies across the state.

Ayodhya-Faizabad and Mathura-Vrindavan are the two new municipalities that have been added to the earlier list of 14 by the Yogi government.

The BJP attaches great importance to Ayodhya and a win here would have great symbolic value for the party, sources told ThePrint.

The party, which achieved a historic victory in the assembly polls, is taking the civic polls as a referendum on the Yogi government’s work in the seven months it has been in power.

“If elections are a parameter to measure the performance of any government, then we are taking these elections as a referendum on our government,” Adityanath had said.

The BJP has also released a manifesto for the civic polls, another first, promising world class facilities in urban areas.

Out of 14 mayor posts, the BJP had won 10 in the last elections. And now, with a government of its own, the party is hoping to improve its tally.

The civic elections are to be held in three phases — on 22, 26 and 29 November and the results will be out on 1 December.

On 19 November, the CM would reach Gorakhpur and stay there for four days to campaign in nearby districts. He would address a rally in Varanasi on 22 November. His last rally would be in eastern UP’s Kushinagar on 27 November, the day campaigning will end for the last phase of the elections.

This time, out of 16 mayor seats, the BJP has given tickets to eight candidates who are from the trading class in a bid to check discontent among traders over the Goods and Services Tax, sources said.

“We are making all efforts to win the elections. This is in accordance with our national party president’s view to win every election we fight,” UP BJP spokesperson Shalabh Mani Tripathi told ThePrint.

However, the opposition claims that the BJP could sense the growing anger among people over its policies and that’s why the party has roped in big guns to campaign for local body elections.

“They have not done any work and they are scared of the growing anger among people. That’s why they are trying to divert people’s attention using star power. But that won’t work,” said Abhishek Mishra, former state minister and senior Samajwadi Party leader.

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