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Updated: September 14, 2013 23:51 IST

Modi to rally ex-servicemen on Sunday

B. Muralidhar Reddy
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Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi waves at supporters during a welcome ceremony at Sardar Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad on Friday night.
PTI Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi waves at supporters during a welcome ceremony at Sardar Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad on Friday night.

Ex-Army Chief General V.K. Singh expected to attend Haryana event

The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, will kick off his campaign on Sunday at an ex-servicemen’s rally at Rewari in Haryana, 90 km away from here. It will be attended by the former Army Chief, General V.K. Singh.

For several days now, the organisers have been marketing the event as the first of its kind where issues of national security and ex-servicemen’s concerns would be flagged by the Gujarat Chief Minister in the midst of 20 retired General rank officers.

“The rally is expected to set the tone for the BJP’s manifesto on national security policy and defence preparedness,” said convener Abhimanyu, who is an ex-service officer and BJP national spokesperson.

After this event, Mr. Modi is scheduled to address a series of rallies in the next few weeks in the States where Assembly elections are scheduled for November. Of these, the BJP has high stakes in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Delhi.

The campaign management team is also working on a schedule for Mr. Modi to travel to Uttar Pradesh, which accounts for 80 Lok Sabha seats. His popularity would be tested most in this State for, in the last general election the BJP won just 10 seats.

Mr. Modi’s close aide and former Gujarat Minister Amit Shah, who is in charge of Uttar Pradesh, has been touring there extensively. The party is banking heavily on the Modi factor on the counts of Hindutva, development and anti-corruption, a BJP leader said. The BJP plans to cash in on the “anger” in the majority community against the government’s Muslim ‘appeasement’.

In Bihar, another big State where Mr. Modi has to prove his mettle, the BJP plans to hold a massive rally in Patna in October. It was his appointment as the party’s national election campaign committee chief that led to the Janata Dal (United) ending its 17-year-old electoral alliance with the BJP.

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