State assembly polls 2018: CM Yogi to add firepower to BJP arsenal

File photo: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath Photo: PTI
With the assembly poll bugle having been sounded for five states, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath will lend firepower to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) arsenal in the poll-bound states to either fight anti-incumbency or gain fresh ground.

Adityanath has been selected as one of the party’s star campaigners, especially the Hindi-speaking states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, where BJP is up against united opposition coupled with strong anti-incumbency.

On October 6, the Election Commission had announced dates between November 12 and December 7 for the high-stakes poll battle between BJP and Congress in these states. The other two poll bound states being Telangana and Mizoram. BJP has been in power in MP and Chhattisgarh for three consecutive terms, while Rajasthan witnesses alternative rules by the two parties every election. Counting of votes in all the states will be held on December 11.

Recently, a meeting was held at Adityanath’s 5, Kalidas Marg residence here to discuss and finalise the roadmap for his election meetings in the poll bound states, especially the three Northern provinces.

While UP’s two deputy CMs viz. Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Sharma will also address public meetings in these states, Adityanath holds the crux in the high voltage canvassing in the backdrop of Congress trying to play out these assembly polls as a semi final for the 2019 Lok Sabha poll, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi would himself seek re-election.

BJP hopes to cash in on the strong ‘hindutva’ image of the CM in the Hindi speaking belts apart from his strong oratory skills to draw crowds to his meetings and try to consolidate the vote bank before actual voting takes place.

The ‘soft hindutva’ line being craftily toed by Congress in recent months has further put pressure on BJP to match up with the grand old party in holding on to the traditional vote banks.

According to a senior party leader, Adityanath figures on the top of demands by the BJP leaders in these states to address rallies and consolidate the electorate in the favour of the saffron outfit.

After taking over the UP CM, Adityanath has gradually emerged as a star campaigner for BJP and was successfully deployed for the Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Tripura and Karnataka polls with dozen of rallies in these poll bound states. His engagement in Telangana and Mizoram would also be finalised soon after consultation with the central leadership.

In recent assembly polls, Adityanath had consistently ranked third after Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah in popularity of demand by the candidates for canvassing in their support.

Interestingly, Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president Mayawati would also been seen in action in these states rallying in support for their respective candidates.

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