Upbeat BJP to cash in on Modi's popularity

Last Updated 22 August 2014, 19:16 IST

Ahead of elections to four states, the BJP is buoyed by surveys and party feedback that suggest Narendra Modi has held on to his unflinching popularity among masses even after spending three months at 7 Race Course Road.

The party has decided to milk the prime minister’s image and not project chief minister candidates in the Assembly elections in Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir.

At least two surveys organised by leading media houses have found that people continue to repose faith in Modi’s promise of delivering good governance though his critics believe that he continues to be in the campaign mode. The India Today-Hansa research poll finding states that if the Lok Sabha polls were to take place now, the BJP will get more seats (314) than it got (282) during the May polls.

The AC Neilsen survey commissioned by the ABVP projected that the BJP would do exceedingly well in Maharastra and Haryana to outsmart the ruling Congress.

Modi appears to have already switched into election mode much before the announcement of Assembly polls, given that he sprinkled elements of politics in his speech at Ranchi on Thursday.

Weaving development into politics, the government had lined up inauguration of infrastructure projects in poll-bound states. The prime minister had laid the foundation of projects in Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir as he did in Maharashtra and Jharkhand on Thursday.

In Maharashtra, the opinion poll gave 210 of the 288 seats indicating that the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance will be able to form the government in the state while it predicted 43 of the 90 seats for the BJP alone in Haryana. With its ally the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC), the polls see a jump of another 13 seats.

Senior Haryana leaders are quitting Congress to join BJP which so far had played second fiddle to a regional party like HJC now and the Indian National Lok Dal, headed by Chautalas. In the caste divided society of the state, the BJP had so far not been able to identify either with Jats or with others.

BJP sources said that the state unit is strongly pitching for going alone this time, snapping ties with Kuldeep Bishnoi-headed HJC since it could yield political dividends in the parliamentary polls.

The BJP had won seven out of the 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana but Bishnoi himself could not win though there was strong Modi wave, said party leaders. It is perhaps due to this Bishnoi is not being invited to functions attended by the prime minister and party president.

(Published 22 August 2014, 19:16 IST)

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