Chandigarh, September 23
On Saturday Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in Varanasi with an itinerary that included laying the foundation stone of an International Cricket Stadium, the closing ceremony of the Kashi Sansad Sanskritik Mahotsav 2023 and dedicating to the nation 16 Atal Awasiya Vidyalaya.
The International cricket stadium is a “step towards realising the PM’s vision to develop modern world class sports infrastructure. The thematic architecture of the stadium draws inspiration from Lord Shiva, with designs developed for crescent shaped roof covers, trident shaped flood-lights, ghat steps based seating, Bilvipatra shaped metallic sheets on the façade,” according to the PM’s website.
Designed exclusively for children of labourers, construction workers and orphans due to COVID-19 pandemic, the residential schools aim to provide quality education and holistic development of children and intend to eventually accommodate 1000 students each.
BJP in election mode
Armed with the “historic” Women’s Reservation Bill passed during the special session of the Parliament this week, PM Modi will on Monday address rallies in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. According to sources, PM Modi is expected to unveil several development projects and address rallies in poll-bound states over the coming few weeks.
During his visit to Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh on September 14, he laid the foundation stone of several projects in the two states where Congress is his party’s chief rival.
“Home Minister Amit Shah has said reservation can only be implemented after 2029 but women’s reservation is expected to be the main thrust of the BJP’s election campaign for the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections,” say observers.
Using thebill as an example, PM Modi is expected to make a pitch for the merits of a strong government with majority.
The dates for Assembly elections in five states, including MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, are expected to be announced around October.
PM and Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam
Meanwhile, this will be the PM’s second visit to Madhya Pradesh—the state known as the ‘garh’ of ideological fountainhead RSS—in September.
The Monday visit will be his seventh this year to the state where the BJP is facing several issues, including the expected anti-incumbency factor. The PM has also visited Rajasthan severaltimes thisyear.
Sources say the successful passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill is expected to be the highlight of his rallies in the two states
Describing it as a “historic step” for women empowerment, the PM, while addressing the Nari Shakti Vandan-Abhinandan Karyakram at the party headquarters in Delhi yesterday, underlined his party’s efforts in the past three decades to ensure women’s participation in democracy.
He also made a pitch for having a strong government with majority, saying this made the parliamentary approval for the long-pending idea possible.
Observers say the BJP is expected to play up Congress’s “inadequate efforts towards the cause of women reservation and their inability to bring it to the Lok Sabha while they were in power” in their election campaigns for upcoming General and Assembly elections.
“BJP is banking on women voters especially in MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh where Congress is the main rival,” they add.
PM’s rallies—MP, Rajasthan
According to reports, nearly 10 lakh BJP workers across 65,000 booths in MP are expected at the ‘Mahakumbh’ in Bhopal which will mark the conclusion of the party’s ‘Parivartan Yatras’. In Jaipur over 6 lakh workers from around 52,000 booths in Rajasthan are expected at the ‘Mahasammelan’ where the PM’s rally will mark the conclusion of ‘Parivartan Yatras’ in the state.
Notably, the situation of the party is said to be precarious, especially in MP where cadres are believed to be “disgruntled and unhappy over various issues, including doubts about getting tickets”.
Several BJP leaders have quit and joined Congress, resulting in negative perception about the saffron party in the state they have been ruling for years now. “The entry of Jyotiraditya Scindia and his loyalists in particular seem to have created discontent and doubts in the minds of workers and leaders alike,” the observers say
Chief Minister’s face/ ‘collective leadership’
While rebellions have brought to the fore the internal rifts, differences and personal ambitions of senior leadership in Madhya Pradesh, in Rajasthan it is specifically the question over who will be the Chief Minister face.
While senior Rajasthan leader Vasundhara Raje is said to be sulking, observers say it is not certain if multiple-time Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan would be retained for the top post even if the BJP does win.A recent meeting between Raje and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot at the inauguration of the Constitution Club of Rajasthan in Jaipur set off speculations.
“In MP it is not as complicated because the party mostly contests under the incumbent CM. However, in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh the central leadership needs to clarify positions.
“Therefore, inMP the BJP may contest elections under the leadership of Chouhan, in other states the party is expected to rely on PM Modi’s popularity and face and collective leadership to avoid any further issues.”
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