Within a week of senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi’s denial of a “Modi wave” in the country, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi sought his blessings at a rally in Akbarpur by touching his feet as Joshi responded with a hug. In a rare show of bonhomie, Modi appealed to people to vote for Joshi while the latter said the nation needs Modi as the prime minister.
Modi is the first senior leader among the party’s star campaigners to have campaigned for Joshi.
Addressing a joint public meeting of Kanpur and Akbarpur Lok Sabha constituencies, Modi appealed to the gathering to vote for the party’s Kanpur candidate Murli Manohar Joshi and Akbarpur nominee Devendra Bhole.
The meeting was organised in Koyla Nagar area of Majarajpur Assembly constituency at the border of Kanpur and Akbarpur Lok Sabha seats. On his arrival, Modi insisted that Joshi sat on the chair marked with his initials “NM” while he himself sat on the adjacent chair. Calling Joshi his margdarshak (guide), Modi then asked people to ensure his win.
According to local party leaders, Joshi, while addressing the gather before Modi’s arrival, had said that Modi was the favourite of youth and the entire nation want to see him as the next PM.
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The show of bonhomie came as a surprise to many as there was speculation that Joshi was not on good terms with Modi as the party had forced him to vacate the Varanasi seat for him. Joshi is the sitting MP from Varanasi but the party had asked him to shift to Kanpur. Joshi had expressed his reservation on the party’s offer but had later relented.
More recently, Joshi had denied any “Modi wave” in the country saying, “Modi is a representative of the party as a PM candidate… so it is not a highly personalised things (the wave). It is a representative wave.”
He had also suggested that the Gujarat model of development cannot be made applicable to all the states. He had clarified later that the statement had been misinterpreted.
In his speech at Akbarpur on Friday, Modi targeted Congress-led UPA government on corruption. Without naming Union Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, he raised the coal block allocation scam. “Koyle ki kaalikh ne Kanpur ko sharmshaar kar diya hai,” Modi said. Jaiswal is the sitting MP from Kanpur and he is contesting from the same seat.