Cyclone Ockhi pours cold water on Gujarat campaign

Cyclone Ockhi pours cold water on Gujarat campaign

Amid the heat of Gujarat polls, cyclone Ockhi, eddying menacingly towards the state's coast, poured cold water on campaigning on Tuesday, forcing cancellation of rallies of several top leaders, including those by BJP chief Amit Shah and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, appealed to BJP workers to extend a helping hand to those who would be likely hit by the cyclone, which is expected to make a landfall on Tuesday night on the state's southern coast in Surat.

Shah's poll rallies scheduled on Tuesday in Rajula town of Amreli and Mahuva and Shihor of Bhavnagar district were cancelled, a party release said.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi held a poll rally in Anjar but cancelled three in Morbi, Dhrangadhra and Surendranagar due to the impending cyclone.

BJP MP Manoj Tiwari's road show in Bapunagar area of Ahmedabad was also cancelled due to light showers since early morning.

The BJP has also called off rallies and press conferences of Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Surat on Tuesday.

Former Congress strongman Shankersinh Vaghela, who floated his 'Jan Vikalp' front, was also forced to cancel his road shows and rallies that were to be held in Junagadh, and Mahuva and Palitana of Saurashtra.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to the Gujarat BJP workers to focus on providing assistance to the people likely to be hit by the storm.

"With CycloneOckhi expected to make a landfall in Gujarat, I appeal to BJP Gujarat Karyakartas (workers) to focus on helping people across the state. Our Karyakartas should devote themselves to providing all possible assistance and stand shoulder to shoulder with fellow citizens," Modi tweeted.

Inspired by his tweet, BJP leaders in Surat suspended all their campaign-related work and began shifting people to safer places, the ruling party MLA from Surat's Majura seat, Harsh Sanghvi, said.

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