With only a few days left before the curtains come down on election campaigning in Delhi, the BJP-SAD alliance is liberally using the Modi factor to woo voters
Jasleen Kaur | November 29, 2013
People flaunting scarves bearing the party’s name and symbol on their heads and around their necks moved around with great speed as the time neared. A woman carrying a bag full of rose petals and others holding garlands in their hands stood anxiously waiting at a particular spot. With party caps and pamphlets having been distributed and the pitch of women and kids singing, dancing and shouting slogans like “Modi ji ko lana hai, desh ko bachana hai” and “Hamara neta kaisa ho, Narendra Modi jaisa ho” only growing louder by the minute, the stage was set for the arrival of the BJP's bada neta in Raghubir Nagar on Wednesday.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidate from the Rajouri Garden constituency Manjinder Singh Sirsa arrived in Raghubir Nagar for a road show and was soon to be joined by senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj (The two parties are contesting the Delhi assembly elections together).
The women, who are usually out at this time of the day to sell steel utensils, had assembled in large numbers to welcome the people from Narendra Modi’s party.
Sarla, 55, said that she had come out to support Narendra Modi. “The prices have increased so much. Pulses, flour, and onions everything has become costly. The government does not do anything about it,” she said. “Hum to Narendra Modi ko jitwaaenge is baar, woh hamare Gujarat ka neta hai, hamare Ahemdabad ka neta hai (We will make Narendra Modi win this time. He is our leader from Gujarat),” she added.
But when told that Modi is not contesting in the upcoming assembly elections, she said, “Ye taraju (SAD’s party symbol) waala usi ka aadmi hai. Modi ne jhuggi ki jagah bangle banwa diye Gujarat me, itni tarakki karwai hai. Ye sardar ji bhi hamare liye wohi karenge (This candidate is from Modi’s party. Modi has done a lot of work for people in Gujarat. This man would do the same for us).”
The assembly elections are not merely an election to form the government in a state but are seen as a run up to the general elections scheduled next year. At least for the BJP this is easily visible as they have designed their entire campaign pitch around the party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
As Sirsa reached the venue, people began slogan shouting and welcomed him with rose petals and garlands.
Before beginning his speech, Sirsa said, “I bow in respect to the Gujarati society and the supporters of Modi present here.
“You have been living here for a long time but till now people have used you only for votes. Otherwise they don’t listen to your issues. We promise that the day you will vote to make BJP’s government, the onion prices would go down to Rs 30 per kg,” he said.
In a well-rehearsed speech, which lasted for around 15 minutes, Sirsa praised Modi for being an efficient leader and the fittest person to become the country’s next prime minister. And this garnered a thunderous applause from the crowd. He urged people to vote for him if they wanted to see Modi as the next prime minister.
“If you want to save the country you must bring Narendra Modi to power. And you must vote for the scales symbol in the elections.”
He further mentioned that he did not enter politics to make money. In fact, as an MCD councillor he never took the salary, he said. “Aap maao ke hamne charan chue hai, aashirwaad liye hai. Agar aap mujhe ek mauka doge to pehli baar kisi neta ko apna sewak banta dekhoge. Apko MLA ka meetha swaad chakhne ko milega. Maine Madipur me bhagwan Ram Dev ke mandir me do lakh ki murti bhi isthapit ki hai. (We have touched the feet of all the mothers present here and taken their blessings. If you give me a chance, then it will be for the first time that you will see a leader become your servant. I have also gotten an idol worth Rs two lakh made for the Ram Dev temple in Madipur),” he said in his speech urging people to offer their prayers in the temple before going to vote on election day. “Just pray to the god that he gives you strength to make the right decision on the big day that would decide your future for the next five years,” he said.
“In Rajasthan, your party is going to come to power. In Gujarat and Delhi also your party is going to come to power. Jab har jagah aapki sarkar hogi to mehangai bhaag ke pakistan chali jaaegi (With your party in power, inflation will no longer be a worry),” he finally said.
Sirsa then thanked people for coming out in large numbers to show their support. “I have never ever done any work for you. But all of you left your work half-way to come here. That is a favour on me and I thank you for that,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lataben, 53, who had left her work early to attend the rally was excited to listen to Sushma Swaraj. “TV me dekha hai unhe. Ye hamare liye aaj yahan aaye hai (I have seen her on television. She has come for us today).”
Lataben said she votes to retain her identity in the national capital. “We will definitely vote. Otherwise how will one survive in Delhi? I earn only Rs 200 and I am able to buy only tomatoes and onions. How will we be able to eat if we don’t cast our vote. We were not able to do anything for our kids. At least these people will be able to do something for them like Modi has done for the people of Gujarat).”
Soon after Sirsa’s speech Swaraj entered the venue. She went to the local temple to seek blessings and then joined Sirsa on the open jeep which was being used as the stage and was welcomed by a showering of rose petals.
“Kem cho behano, maja ma. Mere bhaai ko jitaana hai. Tarajoo pe hi vote daalna hai. Aur agle saal Modi ji ko lana hai (How are you sisters? You all have to ensure that my brother wins in the coming elections by voting on the scales symbol. And next year you have to make Narendra Modi win),” she said addressing the gathering.
She then waved to the crowd and left to address gatherings in the other lanes of the constituency.
Ram Lal, a construction worker, had come out to see the rally. A daily wage labourer, who could not find work for the day, thought of utilising it by listening to the neta.
“I did not find work today so I came to see the rally. I always vote for our pradhan (MLA). We give him our votes and he does our work,” he said.
His friend however, said, “Vote to hum aakhri din hi soch ke dalte hai. Sab ki sunne me kya jaata hai. Sun kar soch samajh kar vote daalenge to hamara hi fayda hai (It is only on the last day that I decide whom to vote for. There is no harm in listening to all of them. If we listen to everyone and then decide our vote, it is good for us).”
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