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Ahead of Mahagathbandhan Rally, PM Modi Kicks off Final Campaigning in Key West UP Region

Multiple addresses by BJP's most influential campaigner in west UP is an indicator of how important the eight seats of Saharanpur, Kairana, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad and Gautam Buddh Nagar are for the party.

News18.com

Updated:April 5, 2019, 2:26 PM IST
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Ahead of Mahagathbandhan Rally, PM Modi Kicks off Final Campaigning in Key West UP Region
Pm Modi addresses a rally in Uttar Pradesh on Friday.

New Delhi: Narendra Modi kicked off the final stage of BJP's west Uttar Pradesh campaign on Friday with a public meeting in Amroha. He's scheduled to deliver another address shortly in Saharanpur.

This is Modi's second visit to west UP after his public address on March 28 in Meerut, the first after the Balakot air strikes.

The demographics of western Uttar Pradesh have traditionally suited the BJP. The party’s top leaders like Kalyan Singh have an avid support base in this region. The region is also communally polarised and sensitive, owing to the density of the minority population.

The BJP has retained almost all its sitting MPs on the eight seats which are going to the polls in the first phase of the elections. Only Mriganka Singh from Kairana, who lost the bypolls, has been replaced.

Re-nominating candidates also points towards the party's strategy which lays more importance on its leadership as opposed to its candidates- a presidential style of campaigning that the BJP has relied on during the recent elections.

Modi made this message amply clear in his Amroha rally address. "Every vote polled for BJP will strengthen me directly," he said.

Multiple addresses by BJP's most influential campaigner in west UP is an indicator of how important the eight seats of Saharanpur, Kairana, Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, Meerut, Baghpat, Ghaziabad and Gautam Buddh Nagar are for the party.

It was the party's success in west UP which propelled the BJP to bag a historic 71 seats in the 2014 polls, following the communal polarisation through the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots.

But it's not just the BJP, all the big parties are about to conclude weeks of intense campaigns in west UP with big roadshows and star-studded public rallies.

In two days from now, on April 7, all the three big leaders of the Mahagathbandhan, Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Rashtriya Lok Dal’s Ajit Singh, will address their first joint rally in Deoband in a show support for their coalition candidate - Haji Fazlur Rehman.

Through the rally, the coalition partners are trying to send a message that travels far beyond the Saharanpur Lok Sabha constituency. Akhilesh Yadav will return to Ghaziabad on April 9 to seek votes for the alliance candidate Suresh Bansal.

Meanwhile, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi is all set to start her roadshow seeking support for her party's candidate in Ghaziabad, Dolly Sharma. Congress president Rahul Gandhi and UP East in-charge Priyanka Gandhi will return to the state on April 8 to hold three big rallies in Saharanpur, Shamli and Bijnor for their candidates Imran Masood, Harendra Malik and BSP rebel Naseemuddin Siqqidui.

Whether the BJP is able to hold on to west UP maybe incumbent on Modi’s popularity and how the party is able to manage the anger of sugarcane farmers, who haven’t been paid their dues, and farmers, who have been greatly inconvenienced by the stray cattle menace.

But, BJP is also likely to be mindful of the fact that a west to east movement of polls is favourable for the party, unlike an east to west movement that tends to help regional parties like SP more.

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