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Home > News > Report

'Modi was king, we will make him emperor'

Sheela Bhatt | January 19, 2008 23:17 IST

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Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi [Images] will be felicitated at Mumbai's Shivaji Park when he addresses a public rally there on Sunday, and the Bharitya Janta Party has left no stone unturned to ensure that the event is a mega success.

"The turnout will be so huge that Shivaji Park will prove small. In my twenty years of public life, I have never seen such a great demand for front seat passes," former BJP MLA Atul Shah told rediff .com on the eve of Modi's visit.

Ganesh Hake, a spokesman for the BJP and the editor of BJP publication Manogat says, "Maharashtrians don't see him as a Gujarati; we consider him a leader of the BJP".

When asked what kind of appeal Modi has amongst voters outside Gujarat, Hake says, "Modi has said that neither does he accepts bribes, nor will he tolerate anyone else accepting bribes. His clean image, his leadership, and his fantastic development work have created mass-appeal".

The BJP's Maharashtra outfit sees Modi's thumping win in Gujarat as an opportunity to revive its fortunes in the state. The party has been struggling to put its act together in the state after the vacuum created by the death of Pramod Mahajan.

The enthusiasm in the party's cadre has reached a fever pitch ahead of Modi's visit. Haribhau Rathod, party MP from Yavatmal says, "Each and every district of Maharashtra is demanding the visit of Modi. People will queue up to see him. I want him to come to Yavatmal".

"Modi was king so far; we will make him the emperor now," said Shah.

When asked if there was a fear of polarisation of votes on communal lines with elections in Maharahstra not far away, Hake said, "Muslims never vote for us. Even when others cheat them, they do not vote for us. In the state, 10 to 12 per cent are Muslim votes. We believe that the impact of the Gujarat elections in our constituency is tremendous, and we are building on it".

Hake is currently editing a special publication on Modi in Marathi. It's separate chapters cover 12 different facets of Narendra Modi, including his roles as developer, administrator, visionary and leader.

Gujarat's success in agriculture has also been highlighted. The party points out that while in Maharashtra hundreds of cotton farmers have committed suicide, in Gujarat, they have turned huge profits.

Rathod, a veteran politician, calls attention to the subtle impact of Modi's charisma. "When Modi stands on the stage to address a public rally, it is enough to send the message of Hindutva. His speech will convey the importance of development. We can't ask for more. The public will come in hordes to see him in the interiors of Maharashtra".