'Didi now looking for place outside Bengal': Modi hits back at TMC's 2024 Varanasi 'challenge'

Express News Service
NEW DELHI: The political impact of the Covid pandemic isn’t yet known, but PM Narendra Modi appears to have rekindled his intensity in Assembly elections as a campaigner after a lull in the intervening period following the 2017 Gujarat election till the start of Jharkhand poll in 2019.

Till Sunday, Modi had a whirlwind election tour clocking 23 rallies, while a few more are lined up for the last five phases of the Bengal elections.

The PM, so far, held 16 rallies in Assam and West Bengal, and seven in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

In 2017, Modi lead the BJP’s campaign in Gujarat during which he addressed 33 rallies besides taking off in a seaplane from Sabarmati riverfront on the last day of the campaigning to visit a temple. Though the BJP won the poll, the margin was reduced in the Assembly. 

Subsequently, the BJP strategists reworked election campaign plans, with focus on building the grounds by then party chief Amit Shah, Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath and others for the PM to step in at the last stage.

The rationale of the strategy was seemingly to keep him fresh for the 2019 Lok Sabha campaign in which he tallied 142 rallies in less than two months. 

In 2018, Modi addressed 29 rallies in MP (10), Chhattisgarh (4) and Rajasthan (15). The PM kept the tempo for elections in Maharashtra (9), Haryana (4) and Jharkhand (10).  The BJP lost power in Maharashtra and Jharkhand, and retained power in Haryana with a post-poll alliance with JJP. 

Before political observers jumped to the conclusion that the PM’s appeal in the states is on decline, the Covid pandemic appears to have turned Modi into an intense campaigner as the first election after the outbreak saw him leading from the front with 12 rallies in Bihar.

Going on campaign overdrive

Till Sunday, Modi had a whirlwind election tour clocking 23 rallies, while a few more are lined up for the last five phases of the Bengal elections.

The PM, so far, held 16 rallies in Assam and West Bengal, and seven in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry