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Friday, April 23, 2021

Delhi Confidential: The big fight

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is scheduled to address a rally in West Bengal on March 7, is likely to address at least 14-15 such rallies in the state.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: March 3, 2021 8:36:27 am
Prime Minister Narendra Modi

With the assembly election in West Bengal being projected as a fight between Mamata Banerjee and Narendra Modi, the state BJP unit is trying to make the best of the Prime Minister’s time set aside for campaigning. Modi, who is scheduled to address a rally in the state on March 7, is likely to address at least 14-15 such rallies in the state. Although the party had sought more rallies, BJP leaders admitted that the Prime Minister could accommodate only two in a week. Interestingly, he is unlikely to attend many rallies in the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, sources said.

Balancing act

The BJP may have to go miles to fulfill its grand plan of getting the Nairs and Christians in Kerala on board to support the party — one of the strategies the party’s former chief Amit Shah was banking on. However, R Balashankar, co-convener, BJP national training programme, who is expected to get a party ticket to contest in Kerala appears to have managed it in Chengannur, in central Kerala. He earned praises from the Orthodox Christian community, an influential group in Chengannur, when he managed to get the central government’s assistance to get a centuries-old church – St George Orthodox Church at Cheppad – the status of a centrally protected monument of national importance. The church, which was facing demolition for widening the national highway, was saved in the last minute due to central government’s intervention. Balashankar has also managed to get a sum of Rs 700,000 from Nair Service Society, a prominent organisation of Nairs in Kerala, for the Ram Temple construction.

Party matters

Wittingly or unwittingly, senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday took a dig at those who are seeking elections in the party at all levels. He did not make any mention of G 23 leaders though. While interacting with Kaushik Basu of Cornell University, Rahul was asked about internal democracy in his party. He replied that he had been pushing for elections in the party for a decade now. Then he added that he had got a beating from the media as well as his own party leaders when he pushed for elections in the Youth Congress and the NSUI. He said he would be the first person to say that democratic elections within political parties are absolutely critical.

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