Size matters in Narendra Modi vs Nitish Kumar rallies

Even though the campaigning for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections has yet to hit top gear, the BJP’s city unit is pulling out all stops to draw a large crowd for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s impending visit to the city.

The BJP plans to felicitate Narendra Modi next month in the city on being elected chief minister for the fourth consecutive term. The Bihar chief minister is due to hold a rally in the capital the same day. File Pic

The visit scheduled for March 17 is to felicitate Modi on holding fort for the fourth consecutive term in the neighbouring state. But with Bihar Chief Minister and Janta Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar to hold a rally on the same day at Ramlila Maidan, Delhi, BJP leaders from the city want to come out on top when it comes to the size of the crowd.

Considering it a matter of pride, they intend to demonstrate that Modi is the biggest leader in the country, and to prove their belief, they are planning to go all-out in organising the largest crowd for Modi’s rally at Somaiya ground in Vidyavihar. To counter Kumar’s rally, the party’s city unit has begun working over time, and the city unit chief, Raj Purohit, has personally started holding meetings. The simple diktat to the party workers is to arrange as many people they can, and see to it that ground is full to the brim with people on the day. 

Niranajan Shetty, the media-in-charge for the party’s city unit, said, “Obviously there would be a comparison because both the leaders have excelled in their states. Modi, however, has a larger support base across the country and hence we expect that Modi’s rally would have more people than any other leader’s rally in the country,” said Shetty.

Seconding the opinion, Vivekanand Gupta, party’s secretary, said, “Modi’s speech at one of the colleges in Delhi recently made everyone accept that the youth and even students support Modi. The media also had to take cognisance of Modi and write editorials on the same. The rallies being scheduled on the same day is a mere coincidence. However, I would like to just mention that Modi currently is the most popular leader in the country.”

The recent decisions taken by the largest opposition party in the state and country, however, have failed to enthuse some senior leaders. According to a leader, the party needs to raise issues affecting the common man and instead of diverting its resources towards that, it is busy gathering people for a rally, said a senior party functionary.

“The party in Maharashtra isn’t united, and at a time when we want the party to stand together, certain people with personal agendas and their coteries are hampering the prospects of the party. For instance, the party’s stand on the irrigation scam was that it won’t support a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe, and had instead wanted a judicial inquiry. But then a certain leader went against the party’s stand and agreed to the SIT probe.

This shows that the party that used to be intellectually sound and would take the ruling party to task for their wrongdoings is not functioning the way it should.” Gupta, however, refuted the observation that the party MLAs are not working together. “All our leaders are raising issues that affect locals and are resolving them too. It would be wrong to say that they aren’t working as efficient opposition.”  

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