BJP leaders say Modi is holding fewer rallies in the 2 states as he is confident of chances of incumbent CMs Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raman Singh.
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the poll mascot of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, has pared down his engagement in the Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh assembly elections campaign compared to the previous polls in 2013, although only slightly.
As against 14 rallies that Modi had addressed in Madhya Pradesh during the 2013 poll campaign — when he was still chief minister of Gujarat — there will be only 10 public meetings this time. In Chhattisgarh, he had addressed five rallies in 2013; it’s likely to be reduced to four at most this time.
While Madhya Pradesh votes on 28 November, assembly elections are already underway in Chhattisgarh with the first phase of voting concluding Monday.
In Rajasthan, where assembly polls are scheduled for 7 December, the PM is expected to address around 10 rallies although it’s still being finalised, party sources said.
BJP leaders dismissed the slight reduction in Modi’s rallies in these states, saying that it only reflected his confidence in the incumbent chief ministers — Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raman Singh.
“The central leadership chalks out the plan for PM’s rallies. Modi ji is such an asset that even if he address people over TV, people will vote for him,” said Manoj Untwal, the MP from Dewas who is contesting the assembly election from Agar.
Party leaders explained that Modi’s rallies in 2013 were virtually a part of his Lok Sabha poll campaign as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate then. He will be seeking a renewed mandate next year but he doesn’t have to start building the momentum just right away, they said.
The Prime Minister had addressed 21 rallies during the Karnataka assembly elections campaign this year and 34 in his home state last year.
BJP leaders dismissed suggestions from political adversaries that Modi was not getting too involved in the poll campaign as the results would be interpreted as a reflection of his popularity just ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Modi is known to take the fight to the opposition’s doorstep and besides, the BJP is in a winning position in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, at least, argued a senior party leader.
In addition, the Prime Minister has three foreign visits scheduled during the period of the assembly polls — 13-15 November to attend the ASEAN summit in Singapore, a day-long visit to the Maldives on 17 November to attend the swearing-in of Ibrahim Mohamed Solih as president, and 30 November -1 December to Argentina to attend the G-20 conference.