Narendra Modi came, saw and delivered his speech sweeping people of their feet and making them chant ‘NaMo, NaMo’ – and setting the tone and tenor of the election campaign in this most politically sensitive State of Uttar Pradesh.
It was Modi’s maiden rally in Uttar Pradesh after being projected as BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate. Modi made a beginning – and what a beginning it was!
Uttar Pradesh is crucial for the BJP. Not only because it has maximum 80 Lok Sabha seats but also this State ensures which party would rule at the Centre. The saying goes that the road to Delhi passes through Lucknow. And to prove it true the party is targeting over 40 seats this time though in last two elections it barely managed to touch double figure mark. Therefore, all eyes were on Modi’s rally and the large turnout of people has proved without any doubt that BJP would do much better in 2014 General Election than what has been predicted by many pollsters.
This Modi’s rally has started an interesting debate, and it is about people’s turnout. And look with whom people are comparing Modi’s rally now – it is with BSP – whose skill to organise big rallies is unparalleled. Locals say, in 2010 Mayawati had addressed a rally in this Uddyan Park that was attended by a record number of people. At that time Mayawati was Chief Minister of UP. Now, BJP is in Opposition and despite being in Opposition this Modi’s rally has broken the previous record – not only in number but also enthusiasm shown by the workers.
A local leader sitting in media enclosure was amused at such a large turnout. “Yeh kahan se nikal kar aaye” (From where these people have come out) he said looking at youth dancing and shouting slogans entering venue waiving BJP flag. This reflects the wind of change which is destined to blow in Uttar Pradesh.
Modi used this opportunity to put across his message to the world. He tore into Congress’s claims of good governance and exposed how the `tikdi’ (threesome) of Congress, BSP and Samajwadi Party have sacrificed development on the altars of vote bank politics. He talked about development staying away from core Hindutava issues and exposed as why youth of lawless State like Uttar Pradesh are migrating to Gujarat.
The question was making round as why Modi chose Kanpur to start his election campaign. Kanpur at one time was BJP bastion. Parliamentary constituencies in and around Kanpur were represented by BJP but it lost grounds to Congress and Samajwadi party in last one decade or so. The upper caste and backwards of this region have deserted BJP switching their loyalties to Congress and SP.
With this rally, the BJP made an attempt to bring backward caste voters back under the party fold. Once Kalyan Singh, who shared dais with Modi, was the Hindu mascot of the party. Besides being a lode he was projected as a messiah of backwards to counter Mulayam Singh Yadav’s influence. Besides Kalyan, other regional leaders like Vinay Katiyar and Om Prakash Singh were also projected as champions of backward caste politics. Once Kalyan switched loyalties and went into oblivion, the BJP lost the support of backward caste.
This rally will make BJP to once again pitch in for backward caste votes as it accounts for almost 40 per cent of the total vote share. In the perspective of Uttar Pradesh, where caste plays a dominant role in politics, Narendra Modi has been projected as backward. Now with Kalyan Singh joining ranks with him the BJP finds itself in a win-win position.