The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ram rajya to Mahabharat for BJP blitz

New Delhi, April 3: The BJP is all set to launch a rally blitz for the second phase of campaigning from Tuesday, the day it was founded.

Dubbed “chunavi mahasangram”, the campaign will begin from Guwahati where Atal Bihari Vajpayee will blow the poll bugle. Some 27 top BJP leaders apart from the Prime Minister and his deputy L.K. Advani will address 53 rallies and public meetings on April 6 in different parts of the country.

Creating a Mahabharat-like ambience, audio and video recordings of a song sung by Vinod Rathore of Munnabhai MBBS fame that builds on the India Shining slogan and speaks of India emerging as a superpower will be played at all meetings. The three-minute video shows Rathore singing: “Mahashakti... mahashakti... mahashakti, main samay hoon... main Bharat hoon, Banega akala varsh mahashakti… Bhajpa ka hai udesh... sankalp hai samriti ka... bhinna bhasha Atal asha... desh sarvasamrat, lakshya Ram rajya…”

The campaign theme centres around taking the country from “gram rajya to Ram rajya to mahashakti”, as BJP spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi put it. The focus will be on development, stability, good governance, Vajpayee’s leadership and prosperity.

The Prime Minister has selected Guwahati for the start of the campaign to send out a message to the Northeast, while his deputy has chosen Ayodhya to impart more symbolism. Advani will also address meetings at Basti, Khaliabad, Gorakhpur and Kasiya, all in Uttar Pradesh.

The previous day Vajpayee will address a rally at Lucknow to mark the end of the first phase of the election campaign.

BJP chief M. Venkaiah Naidu will address rallies in Rajkot, Daman, Silvassa and Diu as part of the 100 public meetings planned by his party.

The campaign will highlight the achievements notched up in economic and foreign policy, education, employment and infrastructure by the first non-Congress government to complete a five-year term at the Centre.

Naqvi said the BJP plans to hold more than 300 rallies and public meetings before the first and second phase of elections, on April 20 and 26 respectively. He added that 248 rallies and meetings, including Advani’s Bharat Uday yatra, were held during the first phase of campaigning.

The spokesperson said the Ram temple at Ayodhya, scrapping Article 370 and the common civil code will not be brought up. “They are issues dear to us and we want to build a national consensus on them,” he said.

Human resource development minister Murli Manohar Joshi will address meetings at Cuttack and Raibania in Orissa as finance minister Jaswant Singh will in Thiruvananthapuram and Udupi. Law minister Arun Jaitley will address rallies at Nangal in Punjab on Tuesday.

Jharkhand chief minister Arjun Munda will address rallies at Keshri and Changwa in Bengal.

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