With state elections due later this year, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has begun his statewide tour, called the Maha Janadesh Yatra, from the Amaravati district today. The tour started from Mojhari village, the land of Saint Tukdoji Maharaj, who was a well-known social reformer. Tukdoji Maharaj was inspirational not only for social reforms in the rural Maharashtra but also construction of roads. He wrote 'Gramgeeta', which describes means for village development.
Describing the purpose of the tour, Mr Fadnavis had earlier said, "When people embark on a yatra they do it in the name of god. Our yatra, is also for our god, because our true god is the people of Maharashtra. We are embarking on this yatra for the 'darshan' of our people."
The Chief Minister will cover 4,394 kilometres, that's an average of 150 kilometres a day, and travel across the state. The rally was flagged off in the presence of Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. Top BJP leaders, including Home Minister Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are also like to address rallies as part of the yatra in the coming days.
The yatra will end in Nashik in north Maharashtra on August 31.
State BJP Spokesperson Keshav Upadhayay, told NDTV, "The rally is an effort to thank the people for giving us an opportunity to serve the people and we will take our message of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas to the people."
Elections in Maharashtra are likely to take place in October and the Shiv Sena and BJP have announced an alliance for these polls. However, speculation is that the parties may fight separately and are preparing to do so, which why these massive outreach programmes are being conducted to reach out to voters.
The BJP's rally has been designed to reach the maximum number of people in the least possible time. Every stop has been planned to the last detail. While announcing the yatra in the presence of BJP Working President JP Nadda, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, "We don't want this yatra to become 'Pvt Limited'. This is not just for BJP workers. This is for the people. It doesn't matter how many BJP workers are present for the yatra. How many common people come to the yatra is what matters. And we have to do micro planning for that. Micro planning is far more important. Whether it's an election, a yatra or a programme, we have to do micro planning. We cannot fight a battle without micro planning."
The rally comes even as the Shiv Sena's Jan Ashirwad Yatra, which is being led by the party's future leader and the party's youth wing president Aaditya Thackeray, is also in progress. Aaditya Thackeray, 29, had told NDTV, "The leaders of the Shiv Sena and the leaders of the alliance, whoever wants to join in is more than welcome. We want to listen to the people's voice. Normally we go to them during elections and tell them what is in our minds. I am trying to figure out what is in their minds, their aspirations for the new Maharashtra I am trying to build. For me personally, this is a tirth yatra (pilgrimage). I am seeking everyone's blessings, and for those of us in politics, our real god lies in the people."