Advani passes popularity test as crowds throng to hear him
BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi over the weekend did a trail blazing trip of Uttarakhand addressing public meetings in the Garhwal, nerve centre of Shrinagar, Kumaon’s political capital of Almora and industrial hubs of Rudrapur and Roorkee in the foothills. As usual, like all the Modi rallies these rallies too had the patent large numbers with the hills turning saffron with participants wearing BJP caps and tying party scarfs.
The crowds cheered as Modi appealed for giving him Panch Kamal (five Lotuses) from the state in the form of winning BJP candidates from all the five BJP seats in the state. A deeply spiritual state, Uttarakhand has great belief in Panch Kedar (five incarnations of a Shaivite Lord Kedarnath), Panch Badri (five avatars of Vaishnavite Lord Badrinath) and Panch Prayag (the five confluences which leads to the birth of Ganga), so Modi’s appeal invoking Panch is bound to have an impact when the state goes to poll on 7 May.
However, at all these meetings, as the crowds waited for Modi’s chopper to descend they all talked about the ‘impact’ which the rallies of party veteran Lal Krishna Advani was having in the state. With polling over in Gujarat, the former deputy prime minister has quietly slipped into the state unnoticed by the national media, campaigning in the remote corners and difficult terrain of the Himalayan state.
While BJP’s communication team announces schedule of the public meetings of Modi and party president Rajnath Singh, gives information about blogs penned by senior leader Arun Jaitley, makes known the press conferences which party’s main spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad addresses outside Delhi in addition to the information important for national media, it has more or less blacked out the veteran’s programmes.
Despite the lack of publicity, the former deputy prime minister is drawing crowds. A day before Modi arrived in Uttarakhand, Advani in his own way left people in the state talking of his role and how he has built up the BJP.He was pleasantly surprised to see a large presence of people at the public rally in border town of Pithoragarh under Almora constituency. Not the one to let the opportunity go, the veteran pounced with facts and figures eulogizing the role former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee played in the creation of the Himalayan state and in the process taking some credit himself for piloting the bill as home minister for the division of UP.
He was also very clear about his seniority not only in the party but also in the nation’s polity. He reminded people that with Pranab Mukherjee having made to the Rashtrapati Bhavan, he was the senior most parliamentarian in the country. Though fully spurred, he was clever enough to maintain caution and not speak ill of party’s PM candidate Narendra Modi.
However, he did not shower encomiums on Modi either but made a references to him in the passing hoping that ‘good days would dawn on the country post 16 May. No wonders, party president Rajnath Singh is already making overtures to the veteran.