With the crucial first phase elections in western Uttar Pradesh just a week away, all parties have pumped in their best to woo voters. While Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo began her electoral campaign from Meerut, Uttar Pradesh chief minister and national president of ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) Akhilesh Yadav too has had a whirlwind tour of the region.
Over to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) now, which is out to ensure that the gains of 2014 are not squandered by a resurgent BSP or the Congress-SP alliance. And it is hence that within a span of two days, BJP president Amit Shah and prime minister Narendra Modi will be in this region to seek voter for the party.
While Amit Shah will be staying overnight in the region on Friday and partake in a 1.5 km long 'pad Yatra' (tour on foot) from Purani Chungi to Ghantaghar, in support of party candidates Laxmikant Bajpayi, Satya Prakash Agarwal and Somendra Tomar and would then address a public rally in Dhaulana for party candidate Ramesh Chandra Tomar and at the Polytechnic college in Khruja for Virendra Khatik while he will spend the night in Mathura, where he will review the party's poll preparedness.
A slew of its star campaigners -- from Mahant Adityanath to many union ministers and Hema Malini, all are currently criss-crossing the region to win over the electorate. And the 'mother of all rallies' to be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on the anvil for Saturday. While arrangements for a sizeable presence of people and party supporters are underway and party strategists expect the Saturday rally of Modi to be a game changer, they have also rolled out a "value addition".
The rally will reach more than two crore people across the states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa and Uttarakhand. Incidentally people in Punjab and Goa would be voting on the day when the PM would be speaking in Meerut. The Information Technology (IT) section of the BJP is working overtime for the Meerut rally of the prime minister. A central server has been established at the Lucknow party headquarters and a dedicated team is going to host a 'live talk channel'.
The speech would be beamed direct to mobiles and laptops through special technology. The BJP has more than 42 lakh followers on its national official Twitter handle and several lakh on Facebook and other social media networking sites. The party would like to make the best use of these available channels to reach out to maximum people, Amit Malviya, the state in-charge of the IT section informed.
The communal flavour of the region is still its biggest issue. Stung in the past as it got sandwiched between the hostilities of Jats and Muslims, even the SP is playing safe this time and has refused alliance with the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), the party of influential Ajit Singh. The party feared loosing its minority base post-alignment with the Jat dominated party and hence said a no to RLD at the last minute.
People, mostly Jatav in this area are favourable disposed to BSP, whose chief Mayawati comes from this region only. Western UP will vote in the Phase I on February 11 and decided the fate of 73 seats spread across 15 districts.
(Mohit Dubey can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)