Dehradun, Feb 4 (PTI) The BJP is hoping that the “Modi factor” credited for the party’s big win in 2017 Uttarakhand assembly elections, will help it register a repeat performance in the polls just days away. The party believes that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s influence was crucial in the BJP’s historic win in 2017 when it bagged 57 out of a total of 70 assembly seats in a one-sided battle limiting arch rival Congress to just 11 seats. While BJP leaders are understandably optimistic about the Modi factor working in favour of the party, poll watchers who don’t rate the party’s chances high this time also agree that whatever seats the party wins will be due to the Modi factor. “There is a strong anti-incumbency in the state due to BJP giving three chief ministers in just five years which is all set to spoil the party’s chances. However, wherever the party wins it will be on the strength of Modi,” Dehradun based political commentator JS Rawat said.
The BJP is seeking the mandate for a second consecutive term in office – something which has evaded incumbent governments in the past in Uttarakhand. The BJP seems to be banking heavily on the Modi magic to achieve its target of winning more than sixty seats in the state. BJP leaders campaigning for its candidates in different constituencies through virtual rallies are seeking votes in the name of Modi.
Half of their speeches at the poll rallies are dedicated to mega development projects on which work began in the state under the leadership of Narendra Modi. “Modi is our biggest icon. It is a factor which has always worked for the party and the coming polls are going to be no exception,” Pradesh BJP vice president Devendra Bhasin told PTI.
The Prime Minister’s involvement in the state’s pursuit of its development goals was never as direct and visible as over the last five years, he said.
People know Modi is the driving force behind big ticket connectivity and infrastructure projects brought to the state in recent years like the long-awaited Rishikesh-Karnaprayag railline, the Chardham all weather road or Kedarnath-Badrinath reconstruction, Bhasin said “He is the first prime minister to visit the state so many times and the priority accorded to Uttarakhand in his scheme of things is clear as daylight. Under his leadership projects worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore have been sanctioned for Uttarakhand,” the BJP leader said. Apart from his visits to the state for poll rallies, his several visits to Kedarnath during one of which he meditated in a cave, his visits to the India-China border areas in the state to celebrate festivals in the company of soldiers and his visit to Corbett which put Uttarakhand on the world tourism map are alive and fresh in public memory, BJP spokesperson Shadab Shams said. Even the party’s repeated chant about “double engine” signals towards the state’s continued growth over the next few years in partnership with Modi govt at the Centre.
However, JS Rawat said inflation, growing unemployment and the farm laws will go against Modi. People in Uttarakhand are also disappointed with the general budget which makes no special provision for the state.
Pradesh Congress Committee vice president and senior spokesperson Dhirendra Pratap said no factor is going to save the BJP this time as people in Uttarakhand have made up their mind about change.
“Modi is no longer a vote catcher as bypoll results in several states have shown. Discontent is brewing among people in Uttarakhand due to growing unemployment, skyrocketing prices of essential commodities and continued migration from the hills,” Pratap said.
“Uttarakhand will vote for change this time and Congress is all set to return to power with a handsome majority,” he said. PTI ALM RCJ RCJ
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Source: The Print