Battlelines drawn for 2024: PM Modi leads BJP in the race


Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Central Election Committee (CEC) meeting at the party headquarters, in New Delhi on Wednesday. BJP National President JP Nadda is also present (ANI Photo/Shrikant Singh)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the star campaigner of BJP is the five states that are going to elections this month. As Modi targets the Congress party, it is clear that his aim is the general elections of 2024

Our Bureau
New Delhi/Jaipur/Hyderabad

As the election race for five assemblies heats up, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has announced the list of 40-star campaigners for the upcoming Rajasthan assembly poll, which is scheduled to be held on November 25. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi topped the list, the list also included the party’s national president JP Nadda along with Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP MP Smriti Irani, Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi among others.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath along with his Assam counterpart, Himanta Biswa Sarma are also on the list. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has also been named as one of the star campaigners for the BJP.

Polls will be held in Mizoram on November 7, Chhattisgarh on November 7 and November 17, Madhya Pradesh on November 17, Rajasthan on November 25 and Telangana on November 30.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses the Mahila Sadassu at Ambatpally Village in Mahbubnagar on Thursday (ANI)

In the 2018 assembly elections, the Congress won 99 seats while the BJP won 73 seats in the 200-member house. Ashok Gehlot came to power with the support of BSP MLAs and independents.

In the meantime, Modi has become the main campaigner for his party. The Prime Minister took a dig at the Bhupesh Baghel government in Chhattisgarh on Thursday, saying that in the last five years, there has only been development in farmhouses, bungalows and cars of Congress leaders in the state. “We have seen the incapability of Congress in the last five years. There has only been the development of Congress leaders’ farmhouses, their bungalows and their cars. In these five years, only their children and relatives have benefited,” Modi said while speaking at a public rally in Chhattisgarh’s Kanker on Thursday ahead of the state assembly elections this month.

The Prime Minister said that the Congress government has only given poor roads, non-functional schools and hospitals and corruption in government offices to the people of Chhattisgarh in the last five years they were in power.

“What have the poor, Dalits, backward, adivasis in Kanker, Bastar got? The Congress government has only given roads in poor condition to Chhattisgarh in these five years. They have only given you sick, non-functional schools and hospitals. They have set a new record of corruption in government offices. They have given you job scams, murders and violence,” Modi said.

PM Modi said that the Congress has stalled the work of the Prime Minister Awas Yojana so that the poor beneficiaries of the scheme do not eventually turn out to be Modi supporters. “The Congress believes that if the poor get houses, they will support Modi. So, they stopped the construction of their houses. Modi guarantees you that after the BJP comes to power in Chhattisgarh, the PM Awas Yojana will be strengthened,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that post-independence, while the Congress was in power everywhere, there were no toilets, no piped water connections, let alone gas connections. “After independence, the Congress was in power everywhere, from the Panchayat to Parliament but they did not construct toilets in poor houses; there was no piped water connection, let alone a gas connection,” he said.

Congress leader Sachin Pilot holds a roadshow ahead of filing his nomination papers from the Tonk Assembly constituency for the Rajasthan Assembly elections on Tuesday (ANI)

The Prime Minister said that this month’s state election is not only to elect MLAs, Ministers, and the Chief Minister but to determine their future as the state is going to be 25 years old. “Yesterday, Chhattisgarh celebrated its state formation day. Chhattisgarh’s people and the Bharatiya Janata Party government developed the state, overcoming all struggles. But till the time Congress was in power in Delhi, they fought with the BJP government here. However, we steered Chhattisgarh towards development,” PM Modi said.

But in a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said unlike the former, he tries to keep his promises to the people. Addressing a public rally in poll-bound Telangana on Wednesday, the Congress MP said, “I am not Narendra Modi. When I make a promise, I strive to fulfill it. Modi-ji said he would ensure that Rs 15 lakh (from the recovered black money parked overseas) is deposited to each of your bank accounts. However, not a penny has been transferred to your accounts yet. However, lakhs have been piling up in (industrialist Gautam) Adani’s bank account. Unlike Modi-ji, we fulfill our promises.”

Also taking aim at Telangana Chief Minister and Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) chief, K Chandrashekar Rao, Rahul said, “The ties you have are not just with me but also extends to my great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru, grandmother Indira Gandhi and Priyanka (Gandhi Vadra). So, we are committed to fulfilling our promises here. I am telling you again, the money looted by KCR will be put back into your bank accounts.”

Claiming that CM KCR and his family treat Telangana as their fief, the Congress MP said, “I have resolved to put the money looted by KCR back into your bank accounts. On one side is your chief minister (K Chandrashekar Rao), his family, and his corrupt ministers, and on the other side is the Congress, the poor, and the farmers of Telangana. Our dream is to wrest the power from the KCR regime and vest it in the people. A king and his family are ruling Telangana as if it is their kingdom.”

Further hitting out at the BRS government, he said the people have to choose if they want to go with a ‘Dorala’ (landlord’s) Telangana or ‘Prajala’ (people’s) Telangana.

“You dreamed of Telangana. You dreamed of a ‘Prajala’ government. You didn’t want a ‘Dorala’ government. When you fought for Telangana, shed your blood, and brought about a revolution, the vision you had before yourselves was ‘Prajala’ Telangana and not ‘Dorala’ Telangana. The Congress party will fulfill all your dreams,” the Congress MP said at a public gathering in Kollapur.

Telangana will poll for its Assembly on November 30 and counting of votes, along with those of four other poll-bound states, has been scheduled for December 3.

PM Modi participates in the concluding ceremony of the ‘Meri Maati Mera Desh-Amrit Kalash Yatra’ in New Delhi on Tuesday (ANI)

The state is set to witness an intriguing triangular contest between the ruling BRS, Congress, and the BJP.

In the previous Assembly elections in 2018, the BRS won 88 of the 119 seats, hogging 47.4 per cent of the total vote share. The Congress finished a distant second with 19 seats and a vote share of 28.7 per cent.

However, Modi has hit back at Rahul and Congress Party. Narendra Modi on Tuesday accused those indulging in “appeasement politics” as the biggest obstacle to the country’s development and accused them of “standing by” the enemies of humanity.

“The people who are practicing appeasement, cannot see the seriousness of terrorism. They do not hesitate to stand by the enemies of humanity. They hesitate to conduct a probe into the terrorist activities,” PM Modi said, while addressing a Rashtriya Ekta Diwas programme at the Statue of the Unity in Gujarat’s Ekta Nagar.

“They refrain from tightening the screws against the anti-national elements. The thoughts of appeasement are so dangerous that they even knock on the doors of courts to save the terrorists. People have to be aware of such thoughts,” the Prime Minister said at the event to mark the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

PM Modi further cautioned against those who indulged in appeasement politics and in an apparent reference to the Opposition’s grand alliance said that they are adopting methods that go against the country.

Mentioning the revocation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019, PM Modi said that Sardar Patel would be happy with the move of the government and shower his blessing upon the country for the step taken.

“Who had thought that Kashmir would be free from Article 370? But Article 370 has been revoked. Wherever Sardar Patel would be now, he would be blessing us. Today the Kashmiri people are coming out of terrorism and living freely and contributing to the progress of the country,” he said.

The Prime Minister reminded people of elections this year and Lok Sabha polls in 2024, and added that such politicians want to gain by dividing India. “Lok Sabha elections are going to be held next year. There is a political faction in the country that cannot see any positive politics. Unfortunately, this political faction is adopting methods that are against society and country. Even if the unity of the country shatters, their selfishness is at the top. If the country is aware of them, only then it can be developed,” he said.

It is clear from Modi’s campaign what is at stake and what he is aiming for.

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