Modi's focus on M'rashtra, Shah's on Haryana

Modi's focus on M'rashtra, Shah's on Haryana

High stakes have driven Prime Minister Narendra Modi to literally sweat out on the campaign trail for Wednesday's elections in Maharashtra and Haryana. He addressed 38 meetings in the two states.

On the other hand, with a strong anti-incumbency factor against their party, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi addressed only four rallies in Maharashtra and three in Haryana.

Her son and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi spoke at 10 meetings in all—six in Maharashtra and four in Haryana, where his brother-in-law Robert Vadra's alleged land deals under a friendly Bhupinder Singh Hood government staged a comeback as an election issue.

Modi did not want to take chances with Maharashtra or Haryana. He wanted to send a signal to his party that he assumed full responsibility for the BJP's decisions to go out of its “comfort zone” of an alliance with the Shiv Sena, said a BJP leader.

“Therefore, the prime minister went to both the states almost every day after Dussehra on October 3, when electioneering peaked,” said a party functionary.

According to Congress leaders, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi did not seem keen on any “salvaging operation” as AICC members told them that the situation in both the states was beyond recovery. “It was not the best of scenarios in both the states, and our strategists did not see any big change even if our top leaders were to attend more rallies,” said a Congress leader.