Whether the Bharatiya Janata Party officially announces Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls or not is still to be seen but the Modi-effect is already visible in the Chandigarh unit of the party as some of the contenders for the ticket from the city are going all-out to project their proximity to the leader in the run-up to the elections.
Modi,being the incharge of the party units of Punjab,Haryana,Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh from 1996 to 1999,has handled the election campaigns in the north. In fact,it was during his tenure as the incharge of the unit that the BJP witnessed its two victories in the Lok Sabha elections from the city. In the years 1996 and 1998 when the elections were held,Satya Pal Jain had emerged victorious defeating Congress leader Pawan Kumar Bansal.
Since then the party has not witnessed a win and it is Bansal who has been the MP from the city for the past three terms,increasing his winning margin in every election.
Jain says,I have a very good relationship not only with Modi,but also with Advaniji,Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley among other senior leaders. I stay in regular touch with Modi on several issues concerning the party. He has been incharge of the Chandigarh unit and is a very good organiser.
President of the Chandigarh unit Sanjay Tandon says that he was brought into politics by Modi himself. I was not involved in politics earlier. After a meeting with my father,Modi got me into politics and made me join the Chandigarh unit in 1995. I was then made incharge of the CA cell,subsequently the general secretary and then the president, he adds.
Tandon has met Modi at several times over the past few weeks and thereafter uploaded the pictures online. During the recent meeting addressed by Modi of presidents of all state units,discussions were held about the strategy for elections in Chandigarh.
Senior leader Harmohan Dhawan is also on a lobbying spree having met a number of senior leaders,including Arun Jaitley,Rajnath Singh and Sushma Swaraj in Delhi recently. He claims that since Modi was the incharge of Chandigarh,he is aware that Dhawan is a factor in the elections here. People of Chandigarh do not like to accept outsiders as their MP. It is a peculiar situation here as there are no MLAs. So the residents want that the MP should be from the city who can be approached easily. Pawan Bansal won the elections for the first time when I extended support to him. This was the biggest mistake I made, says Dhawan.