For BJP candidate Kirron Kher, the day’s campaign starts with seeking divine blessings. After paying obeisance at a gurdwara and a temple, she climbs onto a jeep and is all set for a road show.
Followed by a cavalcade of vehicles, some with the party flags, Kher traverses through the lanes of the sectors where announcements of the road show had been made in advance. The residents are encouraged to join in. Kher keeps waving and smiling as the cavalcade passes by. Some areas, which were part of the schedule, are left out and residents, who were waiting to meet Kher, are left disappointed.
Actor Kirron Kher was given ticket from the city ahead of three local leaders Sanjay Tandon, Satya Pal Jain and Harmohan Dhawan, each of whom was a contender. Her arrival in the city was marked with protests and stones were thrown at her car. Before the rebellion quietened, the BJP lost several days and could start its campaign after the other parties.
Kher’s campaign, unlike her opponents, does not include padyatras or seeking votes from door to door. Road shows and public meetings seem to be her preferred methods. Areas have been assigned to local leaders for campaigning. One of the top three men always accompanies her during canvassing.
After the road show, Kher arrives at a meeting of women organised at the house of a BJP leader. Around 100 women are there. Addressing them, she says that while many local leaders wanted to contest, she was not really interested. “When I come to Chandigarh, there is warmth here. People call me their daughter, their sister. I knew that whenever I would contest, it would be from Chandigarh,” she says.
She stresses that she would be in the city after being elected and would not run away. Another message she emphasises is that she is the candidate sent by the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. She says that if she makes promises to the people now, she will also be there to fulfil these.
It is Kher’s star status that attracts people to her meetings. People want to get pictures clicked with her and seek her autograph. She is surrounded by people, all trying to reach her.
Talking about this, Kher says, “I am also an actor, I cannot do padyatras. Wherever I go, people want pictures with me or meet me. I promise that after the election I will go to every house and get pictures clicked with everyone. At present, if I go to the house of one person, the others will get angry and that would affect the votes.”
Kher also underlines the fact that it is for the first time that the BJP has fielded a woman from Chandigarh and the women should, therefore, contribute to her victory.
From the meeting with the women workers, she heads to a meeting of government employees where assurances of fulfilling their demands are made. The next programme is scheduled for 5 pm. A BJP leader says that in the afternoon, Kher holds personal interactions with BJP leaders and workers.
In the evening, three public meetings are scheduled where Kher talks of corruption by the Congress government and lack of development in Chandigarh. She assures the residents that Chandigarh is very important for Narendra Modi. She says that she would ensure approval from Delhi for all works that need to be done in the city. The Gujarat model of governance is highlighted throughout. The last meeting of the day is scheduled at a hotel.