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UP key to Modi's success

Sanjay Pandey, Lucknow, Sep 14, 2013, DHNS:

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s pursuit of the prime minister’s post will largely depend on the BJP’s performance in Uttar Pradesh.

In the 2012 Assembly elections, the BJP’s vote share stood at a meager 15 per cent. Modi thus faces an uphill task of reviving the party’s electoral fortunes in the state, which sends 80 members to the Lok Sabha.

In the 1998 parliamentary elections, the party had secured 36.48 per cent votes and bagged 58 seats. In the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP’s vote share dropped to 22.17 per cent, while tally of seats plunged drastically to 10. The vote share declined to 17.85 per cent in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. But the number of seats remained the same.

Modi has his plates full in Uttar Pradesh. “He has to boost the party’s tally as well as the sagging morale of party workers,  besides overcoming factionalism in the state unit,” a senior BJP leader told Deccan Herald. Local leaders said though the party workers were rejuvenated by Modi’s appointment as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, he will be required to iron out differences between the different factions to make it to 7, Race Course Road.

They also said Modi will have to “carefully do his maths and play the caste card well” to succeed. The BJP needs to make inroads into the Jat belt in the western parts of the state and win a few seats there, they added. There are indications that the BJP will rake up the Ram Temple issue to polarise voters along religious lines.

Modi’s protege and BJP general secretary Amit Shah, who was made in-charge of the BJP’s state unit, has made it clear that the Ram temple issue is high on the BJP’s agenda.

No change in US visa policy

The US on Saturday remained noncommittal on granting visa to Narendra Modi, who has been named BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, saying there was no change in its longstanding visa policy, said state department spokesperson Marie Harf, reports PTI from Washington.


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