The Prime Minister begins his campaign from Bhuj, a BJP stronghold that also has 33 per cent Muslim voters and has witnessed some of the polarised elections. On Sunday, he will also address a rally in Amreli, dominated by the powerful Patel community, who the BJP hopes will continue to back it despite their recent displeasure over not being included in castes that get benefits of affirmative action.
After four rallies on Sunday, the Prime Minister will be back in Gujarat on Tuesday to address four more.
On the same day, the BJP has organised what it is calling "Chai ke saath," in which the party will organise tea for BJP workers and others to gather and hear PM Modi on his radio show "Mann ki Baat" in all of Gujarat's 50128 booths. Discussions will follow. It references PM Modi's "Chai Pe Charcha" campaign before the 2014 national elections in which he led the BJP to a big win.
The successful campaign stressed his modest origins as a boy who sold tea in Gujarat, in contrast to the privileged background of the Congress' Gandhis and was constructed after Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar derided PM Modi as a tea seller who can never become PM.
In another self goal, the Congress' youth wing tweeted a meme this week mocking the Prime Minister as a "chai-wala." The BJP has said the post, now deleted, is an example of the Congress' elitist mindset and that the party will be punished by the people in the Gujarat elections
The main focus of the BJP's campaign, said Bhupendra Yadav, will be a "dynasty vs development" comparison with the Congress, which the BJP will also accuse of "misusing social media."
The PM's security is okaying locations for helipads and routes, state BJP leaders said, adding that the Prime Minister will hold road shows too and will "invoke Gujarati pride" in a state where he was Chief Minister for 13 years, leading the party's charge in the last three state elections. The BJP has been in power in Gujarat for the last 22 years.
Unlike in Himachal Pradesh, where the BJP named a presumptive chief minister in PK Dhumal, in Gujarat the party has stuck to its tested strategy of not fielding a chief ministerial candidate and seeking votes for PM Modi's policies and development agenda. Himachal voted on November 9 and results for both states will be announced on December 18.
BJP chief Amit Shah has set the party a target of winning 150 of the state's 182 assembly seats. The party's best so far has been 127 seats in 2002.
The Congress, which has been a poor second for years in the state but hopes to reverse that this year, plans a less more "low-key, sustained" campaign, with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi continuing to visit the state and attack the BJP on development and the economy. Before Gujarat votes on December 9, Mr Gandhi is expected to take over as Congress president from his mother Sonia Gandhi.
The Congress has a list of 40 campaigners for Gujarat, including several film stars.