PM Narendra Modi Holds Big Rajkot Road Show As BJP Accelerates Gujarat Campaign

Posters and banners highlighting central and state government projects and huge cutouts of PM Modi line his road show route.

PM Narendra Modi Holds Big Rajkot Road Show As BJP Accelerates Gujarat Campaign

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a two-day visit to Gujarat, his home state.

Rajkot, Gujarat:  A road show in Rajkot on Thursday was the highlight of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's two-day visit to Gujarat, designed to reach out to farmers, and, ahead of assembly elections, shore up the BJP's position with the powerful Patel community that has traditionally voted for the party, but has been upset for the last few years over their demand for reservation in government colleges and jobs not being met.

On Thursday evening, PM Modi inaugurated the Sauni Yojna, a project which will fill the Aji dam near Rajkot with Narmada waters before the road show over eight kilometers in the heart of the city. Posters and banners highlighting central and state government projects and huge cutouts of PM Modi lined the route. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who is an MLA from Rajkot, had called for a "Diwali-like celebration" to welcome the Prime Minister.

The prime minister started his roadshow from the Aji dam area and was seen waving at the huge crowd, which had gathered on both sides of the streets, while the people showered rose petals and threw garlands at him. The roadshow ended at the airport after almost an hour.

Before the road show, PM Modi reiterated that his "government that is fully dedicated to the poor of the nation" at a function to honour the differently-abled and also thanked Rajkot, where he said, his political career began. "Had Rajkot not elected me to Gandhinagar, I wouldn't have gone to Delhi," the Prime Minister said. 
modi poster rajkot

Posters and banners highlighting government projects and cutouts of PM Modi adorn Rajkot.

Rajkot is the headquarters of Gujarat's Saurashtra region, dominated by Patels or Patidaars, who the BJP is trying hard to win back after what was seen as the state government's inept handling of the community's massive agitation for quota. The Prime Minister's last road show in Surat in April was also focused on the Patels, who have been flocking to public rallies held by 24-year-old activist Hardik Patel. Mr Patel, who was jailed on sedition charges, has vowed to ensure a BJP defeat.

The is the Prime Minister's fourth visit to Gujarat this year. The BJP, which has ruled the state for the last two decades, started its campaign early. Party chief Amit Shah has said "PM Modi's victory chariot will roll into Gujarat" and has set a target of winning 150 of the state's 182 assembly seats in the elections due year end.

Far from putting up a credible challenge, main opposition party the Congress is at the moment in shambles, appearing to be on the brink of a split with its most senior leader Shankarsinh Vaghela lashing out repeatedly at the party after it made it clear that he would not be projected as its presumptive chief minister.
rajkot rally

Rajkot, the headquarters of Saurashtra region, is dressed up for PM Narendra Modi's rally

There has been speculation that Mr Vagehla could return to the BJP, especially after he met Amit Shah over tea earlier this year. The former chief minister has so far denied that he will return to the BJP, which he quit in 1996.

PM Modi began his Gujarat trip today with a visit to Mahatama Gandhi's Sabarmati ashram in Ahmedabad, where he said that the killing of people by cow vigilantes is unacceptable.

"Killing people in the name of Gau Bhakti is not acceptable," PM Modi said, adding, "No person in this nation has the right to take the law in his or her own hands in this country."

His comments came a day after people across the country protested against mob attacks by cow vigilantes against people they accuse of cow slaughter or carrying and eating beef.

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