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Sunday, January 23, 2022

BJP stole a march on rivals in UP before EC curbs on physical campaigning kicked in

The UP BJP’s leading campaigner, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, is said to have already toured at least 250 Assembly constituencies across the state over the past few months

Written by Lalmani Verma | Lucknow |
Updated: January 10, 2022 7:08:25 am
Union Home Minister Amit Shah addresses supporters during BJP’s Jan Vishwas Yatra, in Kasganj, Uttar Pradesh. (ANI/File)

While the Election Commission has announced a ban on roadshows and rallies until January 15 ahead of the February-March Assembly polls in five states amid the spiking Covid cases, the ruling BJP in Uttar Pradesh seems to have stolen a march on its rivals in terms of physical campaigning so far.

BJP sources say the party’s leading UP campaigner, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, has already toured at least 250 Assembly constituencies across the state in the past few months. They say senior BJP leaders, including Adityanath, have addressed over 399 public meetings and nukkad sabhas along with roadshows during the party’s six Jan Vishwas Yatras kicked off on December 19 that concluded last week.

With a focus on 78 seats where the BJP and its allies had lost in the 2017 UP Assembly elections, Adityanath has toured these constituencies, and inaugurated and laid foundation stones of new projects while making claims about the “advantages” that the constituencies would have gained if the BJP had won there in 2017. He has also addressed most of the Samajik Pratinidhi Sammelans that the saffron party organised in different parts of the state in a bid to reach out to various castes and sections.

BJP sources say the party’s leading UP campaigner, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, has already toured at least 250 Assembly constituencies across the state in the past few months. (ANI/File)

The BJP’s principal campaigner, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has already visited more than a dozen districts in UP to launch various mega infrastructure projects and address public meetings over the past two months. Starting with the inauguration of an international airport in Kushinagar on October 20, the PM toured Sultanpur, Prayagraj, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Mahoba, Jhansi, Balrampur, Shahjahanpur, Noida, Kanpur, and Lucknow with his last public meeting being in Meerut on January 2, where he laid the foundation stone of Major Dhyan Chand Sports University.

The BJP had planned a grand Jan Vishwas rally at Ramabai Ambedkar Maidan in Lucknow on January 9 to mark the conclusion of its Jan Vishwas Yatras, which would have been addressed by PM Modi. However, the party cancelled the rally in view of the rising Covid cases.

A slew of senior BJP leaders, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah, party national president J P Nadda, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, have already held public meetings and booth president sammelans in the past two months.

Senior BJP leaders, including Adityanath, have addressed over 399 public meetings and nukkad sabhas along with roadshows during the party’s six Jan Vishwas Yatras kicked off on December 19. (Twitter/BJP4UP)

At the same time, the BJP has already made preparations for the virtual rallies, party sources said, adding that the party was expecting such curbs on physical rallies due to Covid cases. “BJP has developed its own network system to hold virtual rallies with a maximum of 50,000 people at a given time. Senior leaders will address these rallies from Delhi, Lucknow and other locations. Also live streaming of the rallies will be done through giant screen-mounted vans. At least one van will move through each Assembly constituency,” said a party leader, adding that the BJP has data base of its members that will help in connecting with people during the virtual rallies.

The BJP leader also said that over the last five years the party has set up its offices in all 98 district units and six regional offices across UP and that all these offices have been equipped with advanced facilities required for live connectivity and virtual meetings.

“BJP workers have worked door to door while helping the needy people during the lockdown. We are aware how to work under Covid guidelines. We will do door-to-door campaign better than other parties as their workers stayed indoors during the lockdown period,” claimed another BJP leader.

BJP leaders, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah, party national president J P Nadda, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, have already held public meetings and booth president sammelans in the past two months. (Twitter: @JPNadda)

The physical campaigning of the principal Opposition, the SP, has so far remained centred on party president Akhilesh Yadav and his Samajwadi Vijay Yatra in various districts. The SP’s allies and their leaders from different caste groups took out seven different yatras and held meetings in various districts over the past three months. The main crowd-puller in the SP’s campaign has been Akhilesh-led Vijay Yatra that started from Kanpur on October 12 and passed through over two dozen districts of eastern UP, Bundelkhand, and western UP with its 10th leg held in Lucknow recently.

BSP president Mayawati, who is looking for a fifth term as the CM, is yet to step out to address public rallies. BSP national general secretary S C Misra is the only party leader who has so far held sammelans in all reserved constituencies and public meetings at the district level across the state.

Over the last five years the party has set up its offices in all 98 district units and six regional offices across UP and that all these offices have been equipped with advanced facilities required for live connectivity and virtual meetings. (PTI)

The Congress has organised marathons for girls and women as part of its party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra-launched “Ladki hoon, lad sakti hoon” campaign in different parts of the state since last month. Till now, these marathons have been held in Meerut, Jhansi, Lucknow and Bareilly, even as the party has suspended its upcoming editions in Azamgarh, Varanasi and Noida owing to surging coronavirus cases. The Congress has now opted for virtual quiz competition called “digital marathon” to reach out to women voters.

Earlier, Priyanka had held public rallies in Gorakhpur, Varanasi, Moradabad and Mahoba on various issues concerning farmers and youths besides the law and order situation in UP.

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