Fair share of Modi and Rahul supporters here!

Fair share of Modi and Rahul supporters here!

Fair share of Modi and Rahul supporters here!

In the holy town of Devprayag, where rivers Bhagirathi and Alaknanda join to become Ganga, a massive poster of Narendra Modi watches over visitors, while Congress flags adorn several shops in the market beside Har ki Pauri (The steps of Lord Shiva) in Hardwar.

Dalit voters vouch for the Congress at Devli Brahmgram, which is 10 km by car from Guptkashi and another 3-km walk up the hills, while in nearby Lamgandi, the upper caste are in awe of Modi. Rahul Gandhi's ‘Main Nahi, Hum’ (not me, but we) posters catch up with Modi's ‘Ab ki Baar, Modi Sarkar’ (now, it’s the turn of Modi government) in areas like Srinagar, Rishikesh, Pauri and Agastyamuni.

A wave or not, the deluge of advertisements in print and on television has made Modi a talking point in this hill state. 

“What wave? There is nothing. We will win hands down,” a close aide of Chief Minister Harish Rawat said. Rawat himself dismissed any such phenomenon, saying Modi created an artificial wave. He believes Modi has enthused traditional upper caste supporters of the BJP, while there is a counter-enthusiasm at work among other social groups.

Former chief minister B C Khanduri, however, said Modi has created an image that the BJP government will ensure development and keep a check on corruption, while not being soft on Pakistan and China. “That is the image Modi has created. There is a Modi wave. People in villages are talking about him,” he said.

But when auto drivers stationed near Patanjali Yogpeeth, the headquarters of Modi supporter yoga guru Ramdev Baba near Hardwar, were posed the question, there were puzzled looks at first. Suraj Valia, who controls the auto-stand, spoke about a definite Modi wave, but a couple of his colleagues did not share his enthusiasm.

Valia’s colleagues may be sceptical however, Guddu Nayak from Niamu village in UP’s riot-torn Muzaffarnagar is on a ‘walkathon’ to Kedarnath to ensure that Modi wears the crown. “Kedar baba (Lord Shiva) has come in my dream and I set on this pilgrimage on April 14. I plan to reach Kedarnath by May 5. I am a Modi ‘bhakt’ (devotee),” Nayak, a cloth vendor, told Deccan Herald as he approached Rishikesh.