Bundelkhand: At BJP's second 'parivartan rally' in Bundelkhand in the run up to the Uttar Pradesh elections, Home Minister Rajnath Singh took the stage to speak yet again on army's surgical strikes and to accuse the Congress of politicizing the issue of One Rank One Pension or OROP.
On Army's surgical strikes that destroyed seven terror launch pads or staging areas across the Line of Control in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, the Home Minster said, "You Pakistan send terrorists to attack our brave soldiers, but now you must have understood, not only can we fight you in our backyard, we have also gone into your home's and defeated you."
In a wielded attack on the Congress for blaming the government for delay in the implementation of OROP scheme - which equalizes pension between ex-servicemen who served at the same rank for the same amount of time - Mr Singh said, "Some people are playing politics over OROP. Did those governments ever implement OROP? Our government did this, yet army jawans are being used for politics, Mr Singh said, adding, no sena jawan wants politics in their name. I want to appeal to all politicians, please stop playing politics with those who protect our frontiers."
The attack on the government over OROP after a retired soldier committed suicide over an issue of his pension was led by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who had recently toured Uttar Pradesh for about a month engaging farmers. He covered a majority of the state's 403 assembly constituencies and focused on farmer loan waivers and asked them to fill out 'kisaan maang patras' (demands of farmers) detailing their loan amounts.
At the BJP's parivartan yatra, party president Amit Shah spoke of helping farmers while also raking up the issue of triple talaq, with a surging demand from rights and women activists urging the Muslim Personal Law Board to accept the common law on divorce.
"A few days ago a few Muslim women went to the Supreme Court for their rights. The courts asked us for our view on triple talaq. We lost not a moment in saying that we are against it. Let the Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party and Samajwadi Party say what their stand is on triple talaq, we have even filed an affidavit saying we are against it," Mr Shah said.
Bundelkhand has been a mixed bag for the BJP. In 2012 state assembly polls, the party had won just three seats in the entire region, but swept all four Lok Sabha seats in the 2014 general elections winning 71 of 80 seats in Uttar Pradesh.
Although, some have criticized BJP's star lawmaker Uma Bharti for being missing in action from her constituency Jhansi, who defended her absence at the rally and said, "People have been complaining that I was not meeting them. That's because I was being unable to solve the problems of people. I was feeling very helpless".
On campaign trail in Lucknow, Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, whose outreach programme aims to woo the Muslim votes in the state attacked the BJP over its 'Parivartan Yatra' in Lucknow.
If BJP had fulfilled even one-third of their poll promises, they wouldn't need to start this 'parivartan yatra' in UP. They wouldn't have had to act good with Dalit people for votes.
Bundelkhand has just 19 of UP's 403 assembly seats, but it's a region that's been in the headlines for many years now. And for the BJP, Bundelkhand is also a prestige battle.