Narendra Modi to address five rallies in whirlwind tour of Punjab
New Delhi – Narendra Modi – who spent much of Thursday in a sea of saffron at Varanasi in what was billed as the biggest road show of these elections – is back to packing in multiple election rallies into his day.
It’s Punjab calling on Friday, and the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate will address five strategically planned public meetings in the state to support key BJP candidates and those of ally Akali Dal.
The BJP is seen to have a more uphill task in Punjab than in other states in these general election and the local unit has reportedly sent an SOS to its star campaigner.
The Congress and the BJP-Akali Dal are seen as neck and neck in Punjab, both battling anti-incumbency sentiments. The Congress-led UPA from its 10 years of rule at the Centre and the Akali alliance from its seven years of ruling Punjab.
The Akali Dal-BJP has the tougher battle and is banking on what it calls the “Modi wave.” Posters everywhere feature Mr Modi with chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.
Mr Modi will address four rallies before he hits Amritsar in the evening, where his senior colleague and the BJP’s top strategist Arun Jaitley is fighting one of the toughest battles of these general elections against former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh of the Congress.
Mr Jaitley, seen as close to Mr Modi, is at 61 contesting his first Lok Sabha election.
The Modi tour begins in Pathankot, which is part of the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha constituency, where the BJP’s former MP and actor Vinod Khanna is contesting against the Congress’ Punjab unit chief Partap Singh Bajwa, who he had lost to in 2009.
He will then travel to Hoshiyarpur and on to Ludhiana, which has the Akali Dal in a fierce four-cornered fight; the Aam Aadmi Party has fielded activist and lawyer HS Phoolka, most known for his crusade to get justice for victims of the 1984 Anti-Sikh riots in Delhi.
He will also campaign in Bhatinda for the Akali Dal’s Harsimrat Kaur Badal, sitting MP and wife of Punjab’s Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal.