Star campaigners get ready for blitzkrieg

 With the announcement of dates for the Assembly polls in four states and Delhi, the respective star campaigners for Congress and the BJP –Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi— will be on the trail in the poll-bound states and in some neighbouring regions.

While the BJP considers polls to Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram and Rajasthan Assemblies as a trial run for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress has insisted that the two should not be viewed together.

Rahul is addressing election rallies in Madhya Pradesh on October 17-18, followed by a visit to Maharajganj in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh. The Congress vice-president is also scheduled to address two rallies in the minority-dominated Aligarh and Rampur next week, as the Congress tries hard to woo the minority community voters back from the Samajwadi Party.

BJP sources said demands from state units for Narendra Modi to address rallies have been flowing in ever since the Assembly poll dates were out.

The prime ministerial candidate for BJP had already addressed mammoth rallies in Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi, and is scheduled to address meetings in Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh) on October 19 and Bihar on October 28.

The rallies are planned with an eye on the Lok Sabha polls, built as the world’s biggest democratic exercise where 800 million people are eligible to vote, though the immediate focus for both parties is on the Assembly elections.

Elections in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh will be a referendum on the BJP’s much-touted alternative development model and on the leadership of their chief ministers Raman Singh and Shivraj Singh Chouhan. The anti-incumbency factor in the states, where the BJP has been in power for ten years, could also be a key factor. 

Putting up a united and a cohesive fight against the BJP in these states will be a huge challenge for Congress.

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