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Modi to campaign in seats where BJP spies a chance

Calcutta, April 24: Narendra Modi’s war-room strategists are planning at least five more meetings to be addressed by the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in Bengal constituencies where the party is spying a chance.

The strategists are studying the mood of the electorate in Bengal at a time a “Modi wave” is sweeping the country, sources in the party said.

The Gujarat chief minister had addressed an election rally in Siliguri on April 10. According to the sources, the focus in the first phase of campaigning was Darjeeling, where the BJP is expected to win with the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha’s support. That is why Siliguri was chosen as the venue for Modi’s campaign meeting for Darjeeling candidate S.S. Ahluwalia, the sources said.

The focus now, according to the BJP sources, would be seats such as Serampore (Hooghly), Asansol (Burdwan), Krishnagar (Nadia) and Barasat (North 24-Parganas), where the party is expecting a good performance in the Lok Sabha polls.

Modi is scheduled to address a rally in Serampore on Sunday to campaign for Bappi Lahiri. The sources said the Uttarpara Rajbati ground on GT Road had been chosen as the venue. Serampore votes on April 30.

The sources said Modi, who had held a rally at Brigade on February 5, would land at Calcutta airport around 6.15pm on Sunday and travel to Uttarpara by car.

Modi is scheduled address a rally in Asansol, where Babul Supriyo is contesting on a BJP ticket, on May 4. Asansol goes to polls on May 7.

The BJP’s central observer for Bengal, Siddharth Nath Singh, said from Delhi that Modi would address “at least three more public meetings” in Bengal after the one in Asansol to drum up support for party nominees in the run-up to the last phase of polling on May 12.

Singh said BJP poll managers were in favour of more campaign meetings by the prime ministerial candidate as the party had received “positive feedback” from several constituencies across Bengal. The poll managers believe that the party candidates in these seats could “spring surprises, banking on the Modi-wave”.

“Regular feedback being provided to our central war room points to the fact that the growing anger against Mamata Banerjee’s bad governance is further fanning the Modi wave,” Singh said, adding that the leadership had identified 10-11 constituencies where the BJP “might do miracles”.

Singh said singer Supriyo getting bail in a case related to a blockade of National Highway 60 on April 12 after the Asansol candidate was allegedly assaulted by Trinamul activists could “tilt the balance in his favour”.

“Our war room, which is manned by over 300 strategists, is working round the clock to monitor the feedback being provided from constituencies across the country. We are confident that the court case involving Babul will tilt the balance in his favour,” Singh said.

State BJP leaders said the party was planning to organise a rally to be addressed by Modi after May 4 in an area that would be near the Barasat, Dum Dum and Krishnagar Lok Sabha seats, which go to polls on May 12.

“That way, our prime ministerial candidate will be able to cover three constituencies by addressing one rally,” a state BJP leader said.

While magician P.C. Sorcar Jr is contesting the Barasat seat, two former BJP junior Union ministers —Tapan Sikdar and Satyabrata Mukherjee — have been fielded in Dum Dum and Krishnagar.

“We are in favour of Barasat as a possible venue because it is not far from Dum Dum and Krishnagar,” a state BJP general secretary said.