The Bharatiya Janata Party is banking on the Modi factor to repeat its 2014 success when it swept the nation bagging 282 seats on its own, its highest tally ever.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will begin his campaign for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections with a mega rally in Meerut on March 28. Meerut is a seat in western Uttar Pradesh where BJP and RSS have a strong cadre. The BJP has won from here five times since 1991 including in 2009 and 2014. This would be PM Narendra Modi’s first rally after announcement of the poll schedule on March 10.
The Bharatiya Janata Party is banking on the Modi factor to repeat its 2014 success when it swept the nation bagging 282 seats on its own, its highest tally ever. The Modi wave also ensured that the National Democratic Alliance bagged a total of 336 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha, decimating Congress to its lowest ever tally of 44. Modi, then the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP, was a prominent factor in the party’s stellar performance, addressing around 437 rallies between September 2013 and May 2014.
Hoping to repeat the 2014 success, the BJP has prepared a detailed strategy for PM Modi’s rallies. The Prime Minister will address at least 160 rallies across the country in the next 40 days. The number of rallies could go up to 200.
On March 28, he will address rallies in Meerut, Rudrapur (Uttarakhand) and Wardha (Maharashtra). On April 2, he will address a rally in Jammu. On April 3, he will sound poll bugle in Mamata Banerjee’s West Bengal by addressing public rallies in Siliguri and Kolkata. On April 9, Modi is expected to address rallies in Gaya and Jamui of Bihar.
In 2014 too, PM Modi began the BJP’s campaign in Utar Pradesh from Meerut. In 2009 and 2014, BJP’s Rajendra Agrawal had successfully won from here. This time again, the BJP has given a ticket to Agrawal, who joined the Sangh in his school days and worked as a Pracharak from 1971 to 1984. Meerut is considered a crucial seat in western Uttar Pradesh because of its population dynamics. Of the nearly 18 lakh voters, 36% are Muslims.
The contest here is directly between BJP’s Agarwal and Haji Mohammed Yaqoob of the BSP-SP combine. Yaqoob is contesting on BSP’s symbol. The alliance is hopeful that the Muslims and backwards will favour Yaqoob over Agarwal.
Several opinion polls have predicted an edge for the BJP under PM Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah’s leadership. According to Times Now-VMR survey, the BJP-led NDA is likely to get as much as 283 seats, 10 seats more than halfway mark. The UPA is likely to get around 135 seats.