Modi’s rallies to play adhesive

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Narendra Modi will be extensively campaigning across Maharashtra to ensure better political alignment between BJP and Shiv Sena.

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The BJP is trying to mend fences with Shiv Sena after relations between both the party had strained in the aftermath of Nitin Gadkari‘s meeting with MNS supremo Raj Thackeray urging him to refrain from contesting Lok Sabha election in order to prevent the split of Marathi votes. The party has got into the damage control mode and asked its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi to campaign in those constituencies where Shiv Sena is contesting election. Modi will be extensively campaigning across Maharashtra and will hold rallies in many constituencies in order to ensure better political alignment and bonding between both parties. Earlier the Sena had expressed its displeasure over Gadkari’s meeting with Raj and asked BJP to clarify its stand over MNS.

Sena had attacked BJP for sidelining Lal Krishna Advani and giving more prominence to Modi. It also said that the party now has no place for the veteran leader who had played a vital role in BJP’s development.

On the row between Advani and BJP regarding the Bhopal ticket, Saamna wrote, “Advani built the organisation and ensured that the party saw its glory days but the decision on his ticket/constituency was kept hanging till the end. In the end the party had to say it was upto him to contest from either seat.”

The development stirred the politics in Maharashtra with Shiv Sena flexing its muscles over continuation of alliance. This prompted top BJP leadership, including Rajnath Singh and Modi, to do firefighting by pacifying Uddhav.

According to Sena and BJP leaders all differences between both the parties can be resolved if Modi campaigns in the state. Most of the rallies have been planned to benefit the alliance across Maharashtra. Rally venues planned till now include Kalyan (Sena), Aurangabad (Sena) Hathkanangle and Mhada (Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana) and Satara (RPI).

Rallies have also been proposed for Bhandara-Gondia (BJP), Jalna (BJP) and Pune (BJP). But the party says the area will be selected in a way that two adjoining constituencies too reap the benefit.

Modi, who plans to hold 185 rallies across the country, has given his consent for 10-12 public rallies in Maharashtra. The state BJP has, however, sent request to the headquarters for 16 rallies. Maharashtra is going to polls in three phases — April 10, April 17 and April 24.

According to highly placed sources in the BJP, the party is now identifying critical seats across regions to ensure all alliance partners “reap the benefit of Modi factor”. The special emphasis is on Sena seats across Vidarbha, North Maharashtra, Marathwada, Western Maharashtra and Konkan (Mumbai/Thane). On March 30, Modi will hold public rallies in Akola (Vidarbha) and Nanded (Marathwada).

“We are contesting the elections under the banner of ‘Mahyauti’ (grand alliance). We will ensure Modi’s rallies are so well planned that they benefit all parties in the alliance and constituencies,” says state BJP president Devendra Fadnavis.

Modi’s poll manager, who is coordinating the campaign with Maharashtra, says: “The demand for rallies by Modi is rising not only in Maharashtra but all other states. Modi has promised that he would like to accommodate maximum demands.”