Wednesday, December 11, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

High-pitched campaign ends
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi addresses a BJP rally on the last day of campaigning in Patan on Tuesday. — Reuters photo

Ahmedabad, December 10
Campaigning in this western Indian state of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel came to an end tonight on a rather aggressive note with the Congress alleging that the BJP and the supporting parties had been using unfair means in their campaigning.

Although there were no major untoward incidents reported from anywhere, the complaint of the Congress came at the last minute. Both the BJP and the Congress claimed that they would emerge victorious when the results were announced on December 15.

However, as things stand just about 36 hours before the casting of votes begins on Thursday morning, there was no clear wave in favour of any of the two major political parties. The situation is not only fluid but it is beyond the comprehension of the best of the analysts as to how the voters will behave on the day of the voting.

It is turning out to be a close race between the two and the possibility of neither emerging with a clear majority is also not being ruled out. The general public, with all that it has gone through over the past few years here, is not ready reveal its mind. The Independents are expected to play a major role when the results are out.

From the remote regions of Saurashtra to the cities of the north, the situation is quite the same. While the BJP is depending heavily on Mr Narendra Modi and religion, the Congress is depending on the solid minority vote along with the raising of some religious issues while tagging them along with the caste system prevalent here.

While both the Congress and the BJP say they will emerge with a two-third majority, political analysts say it could eventually be a photo finish in favour of the either. Incidentally, the BJP leaders are also not very confident with the thought of getting just a simple majority for they fear that Mr Shankar Sinh Vaghela on is capable of springing a surprise or two on them.


Modi dwarfs PM, Advani
Tribune News Service

Maninagar (Ahmedabad), December 10
Ask ralyists, ask a BJP supporter or a BJP worker who do they recognise as the real BJP leader, pat comes the reply, Narendra Modi.

The caretaker Chief Minister of Gujarat with his fiery speeches and the ability to get across to a common Gujarati has made a place for himself, above the rest of the BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, who have made a beeline for the state.

At any public rally, the moment the name of Mr Modi is announced, there is a huge roar in the crowd. Mr Modi knows how to hold the attention of people. He picks up issues like security, which he asserts, only he can provide.

BJP workers say Mr Modi is enough. They don’t need Mr Vajpayee or Mr Advani for campaigning. They mince no words when they say that Mr Modi has taken a big risk here and he would be rewarded for it.

They say if he wins the elections, he will attain the status of a national leader which has not been achieved in the recent past by any of the new brand of BJP leaders.

They do not hesitate to say that Mr Vajpayee and Mr Advani have been dwarfed by Mr Modi. The BJP would have no choice but to project the face of Mr Modi in the next phase of elections in the country.

Asked whether they are ready to throw out the two stalwarts around whose charisma the party has been able to reach new heights, they say, “Who are we to throw them out, people themselves will throw them out.”


When it comes to talking of the strong Indian values and culture, there cannot be a better speaker than Mr Vajpayee. This was evident when he took over the microphone at the rally in Ahmedabad late on Monday night.

The Prime Minister started from where he left in Surat. he attacked Congress President Sonia Gandhi. He called Ms Gandhi “the Bahu” and was unsparing when it came to maintaining decency, specially with elders. Decency should always be maintained even while criticising the elders was what the Prime Minister tried to say, referring to the histrionics of the Congress President at her rallies. He pointed out that everybody had a right to speak and took the gathering back to the times when he was in the Opposition and Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister. He said even then he would criticise Indira Gandhi for her policies but she never used such words for him as were used by Ms Sonia Gandhi.


Hoardings are there but not in as many number as one would normally expect in a state which is probably facing the most crucial round of elections in its history in the next two days.

All political parties have put up hoardings but the number is so small that they can hardly be seen in cities. The number of hoardings put up by the Election Commission, however, is more.Back


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