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Modi googlies leave Oppn stumped
December 07, 2007 10:23 IST
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi [Images] changes his tactics every day. If he swept the 2002 elections almost single-handedly with his rhetorics, this time BJP spin doctors are trying to give him a larger-than-life image of a matured leader who aspires to take the state forward with his futuristic dreams.
Modi, known for his oratorial skills, is currently playing the card of anti-terrorism along with slogans of national identity and of course his primary slogans, "I love Gujarat" and "Gujarat Jetega".
Though Gujarat currently does not have any emotive issue for the elections as the 2002 post-Godhra riots, Modi very well knows that emotional appeals can be translated into votes.
Political analysts say Modi's campaign style depends on the constituency which he is visiting. While being in areas where the BJP is facing dissidents, Modi trumps up the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter issue in his rhetoric style.
"Nobody dared to take on terrorism. Sohrabuddin was killed in Gujarat soil," he says. But Sohrabuddin does not figure in his speeches while visiting riot zone constituencies like Godhra where he prefers to talk about being proud of his Hindu identity and terrorism.
It is not just the slogans that have changed, but also the mode of transport. Back in 2002, Modi used a modern 'rath' for his road shows with facilities of TV, Internet, lounge and all jazzy accessories thrown in.
According to sources associated with Modi's campaign, the rath that is being currently used is a very simple saffron coloured air-conditioned one with "I Love Gujarat" stickers posted on it along with others.
"There are no hi-fi facilities in the van. What it has is a bed with pillow for Modi to lie down along with a seating area.
Besides a sunroof which makes way for a hydraulic platform for Modi to emerge and address and wave at crowds in small gatherings, the bullet-proof vehicle does not have anything else," says a key aide.
"Modi would be travelling by helicopter more than the rath since he would be addressing a large number of rallies and constituencies," he says.
Sources at Modi's residence in Gandhinagar say his day starts at 5.30 in the morning.
"He then surfs the Internet and reads newspapers. By 7.30, he is ready to meet party workers for about an hour," says another close aide.
"He is currently addressing around six gatherings daily but that would eventually move up to around 12."
Modi, always dressed in crisp khadi kurta and saffron Nehru jacket, usually starts his humour-spiked speeches with chants of "Bharath mata ki jai". He also does not forget to take frequent digs at Congress chief Sonia Gandhi [Images] and also its slogan for the current election � "Chak De Congress".
"Congress workers in Gujarat think, 'Chak De' is an Italian word because Sonia Gandhi has chosen it. I must enlighten you that it is neither Italian, English nor Hindi.
It is a Punjabi word which is usually said when a vehicle gets stuck in a ditch. But mere words would not get the Congress vehicle out of the ditch in Gujarat," he says, amid loud applause from the audience.
Another interesting site at various rallies of the chief minister are hundreds of people wearing Modi masks and sitting in the front rows, mostly where TV cameras are stationed.
At a recent Godhra gathering, Muslims wearing scull caps and saffron stoles and carrying BJP flags were found talking to various TV channels and affirming their faith in Modi.
"He has tremendous mass appeal. People come from far-off areas to hear him talk. He has worked continuously for the development of Gujarat and this has translated into large gatherings," says Halol BJP MLA, Jayadrathsinh Parmar.