Back to Where It All Began: After Massive Mandate, PM Modi Set for 'Nostalgic' Ahmedabad Trip
The roots of the saffron party lie in the Khanpur office where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to address his first public rally on Sunday evening.
File photo of PM Narendra Modi (PTI)
Ahmedabad: After winning with a massive mandate in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address his first public rally in his home state of Gujarat at BJP’s old state unit headquarters located in Khanpur on Sunday evening.
For many, the venue of the meeting may be surprising as it is located in the congested walled-city area of Ahmedabad but for BJP workers and leaders, including Modi, it has a nostalgic value. It is here at the Khanpur party that the roots of the saffron party lie.
According to BJP leaders, Modi and party president Amit Shah will be felicitated by the Gujarat unit at JP Chowk in Khanpur, which lies near the old headquarters.
“For party leaders in Gujarat, the party’s old headquarters are considered an ‘auspicious’ place as the BJP won its first election in Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation in 1986 and thereafter, the party has been on a winning streak. Today, the BJP has won the second consecutive national polls and become the world’s largest political party,” said a party insider.
“After the BJP came into being in the early 1980s, the party was in search of its own office in Ahmedabad. First, the BJP started its office in a shop in Elishbridge shopping centre near Elishbridge police station but after a few months, it shifted to a rented place in Khanpur. The property was owned by a Parsi man. With subsequent victories, BJP later purchased the place. It became a hub of activity as many workers, including Modi, stayed in the office itself. Modi moved from RSS to BJP in early 1987,” recalled a party leader.
“In those days, the Khanpur office was the meeting place for political leaders, journalists and was always bustling. Many newspapers offices were operating from Khanpur area then. There won’t be one senior journalist or BJP worker who did not meet Modi at this office. Now, Modi is the Prime Minister but for him and BJP workers, the Khanpur office is a nostalgic place,” said another party leader.
“Modi would have chai and snacks with journalists and talk about a host of issues. But mostly, he asked us about various socio-political developments,” remembers a journalist.
However, after communal riots changed the demographic profile of the walled city area of Ahmedabad and BJP felt the need for a more spacious office, the party shifted to Koba near Gandhinagar in 2014. Its former state unit headquarters now functions as Ahmedabad city unit office.
When Modi was the chief minister, he would hold public rallies at JP Chowk in Khanpur after winning assembly polls.
In the 2019 polls, the BJP won all 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat, repeating its 2014 performance. During his first visit to his home state after the results, Modi will seek the blessings of his mother Hiraba Modi at her residence in Raysan near Ahmedabad.
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