Prime Minister Narendra Modi today virtually sounded the poll bugle in Uttar Pradesh by limiting his address only to politics during a rally in Lucknow. He didn’t announce any new scheme as he had been doing in the last few days following the end of the 50-day window for depositing banned currency notes on December 30.
As per estimates, around 10 lakh people from across Uttar Pradesh braved the chill to attend the first political rally of 2017 in the state that is bracing up for the Assembly election to start along with the onset of summer in April.
Because of the ongoing feud for power in Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s family, the political atmosphere in Lucknow was already heated for the last few days. Modi set the decibels soaring further with a no-holds-barred attack on BJP’s competitors — SP, BSP and Congress.
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Starting off by acknowledging that he had “never” addressed such a big rally in his life, Modi even suggested the election “pundits” to “rest” as people have already chosen the winner. He was referring to the BJP.
The audience populated by BJP supporters swayed with PM’s every one-liner against the opposition, who, he claimed, have ganged up to support the corrupt and black money hoarders and can’t see Modi running the country.
“One party wants to promote a son, one is busy saving money, another is worried as to what will happen to a family,” Modi said in a sweeping jibe against SP, BSP and Congress. “They say remove Modi, I say remove corruption,” he added.
Watch PM Narendra Modi’s speech in Lucknow
The rally on the second day of the new year has set the tone for the upcoming election in the state — that it will be loud and dirty. The opposition will not take Modi’s roar sitting back. Allegations would fly free, and so will some scandals, as they always happen before an election. Bihar Assembly election in 2015 is an example. Bihar was still a small state. UP is vast.
Congress has already started the retaliation exercise. “Have you ever seen a Prime Minister threatening people, by raising fingers at them?,” ANI reported Congress leader Manish Tewari as saying in Delhi.
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Armed with demonetisation’s controversial success, PM Modi and BJP may hope to sail through, but the journey won’t be unchallenged. What may, however, save BJP is the development plank, irrespective of caste and religion, sold by PM Modi to the voters at a time when other parties are scrambling hard to take on Modi government at the Centre. But shouldn’t we be warned? UP battle has just begun.