Modi to address crowds outside airport

Published: 31 October, 2013 02:14 IST | Priyankka Deshpande |

BJP PM candidate's 4th visit to Pune in a year is churning rumours that he's out to reinforce the party's strength here

Although his impending visit to the city is a private affair, the city’s BJP unit has requested their party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi to address the public for at least 20 minutes after his arrival at Pune airport.

Considering the security issues after the recent Patna blasts and the fact that Modi only in July had addressed a huge political rally in the city after he was elevated as BJP’s general election campaign chief, questions are being raised as to why Modi is frequently accepting invitations from the local BJP unit to address voters in the city.

This would be the Gujarat chief minister’s fourth visit to the city since March 2012. Apart from the one closed-door event held in the March last year, the remaining two events were public rallies. Modi’s latest visit comes weeks after he was announced as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate for the upcoming elections.

“Modiji’s annual plans are made in advance, but despite his busy schedule he has accepted our invitation at the last moment and showed his readiness to speak with Puneites for 20 minutes. It means he is keen on building the party’s strength in the city ahead of the Lok Sabha elections,” said BJP city president Anil Shirole. In 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had lost the city seat by merely 25,000 votes.

Laying groundwork
A crowd-puller, Modi’s frequent visits started in March last year, when he was invited to attend an event organised by the Gujarati Bandhu Samaj. Although it was a private event organized by Gujarati community, Modi did not miss a chance to lash out at the UPA government then.  Four months later in July, Modi attended an event organised by Rambhau Mhalgi Institution where he spoke about good governance and criticised the Centre and state government for lack of development in comparison to Gujarat.

In July, this year, a month after he was elevated as chairman of party’s election management committee for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, he launched a blistering attack on the government at a huge gathering in the city Political scholar Dr Prakash Pawar while analyzing the strategy of the city’s BJP unit said that it’s not only about strengthening the party’s position in the city and to attract the local voters, but Modi is frequently being invited to the city to attract those well educated and rich manufacturing class that has migrated to the city and settled down here.

“This particular class who has apathy towards political system is impressed by Modi and to gain the votes of these people, the city’s BJP leaders are inviting Modi time and again before the Lok Sabha elections,” said Dr Pawar.

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