With the Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh less than six months away, major political parties like Bharatiya Janta Party, Samajwadi Party and Congress have started campaigning in full swing.
This week, BJP has announced the launch of four 'Parivartan Yatras' next month from Saharanpur, Lalitpur, Sonebhadra and Ballia.
BJP national president Amit Shah will flag-off the yatras, during which the party's senior national and state level leaders will remain present in al the yatras.
"'Parivartan Yatras' which will begin from 5 November, will culminate with a 'Parivartan Sabha' in Lucknow on the eve of 92nd birthday of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on 24 December," Uttar Pradesh BJP president Keshav Prasad Maurya said.
The first yatra will start from Saharanpur on 5 November, second from Lalitpur on 6 November, the third from Sonebhadra on 8 November and fourth from Ballia on 9 November, Maurya said.
The BJP will also hold a youth and woman conference all over the state in which workers up to the booth level will participate.
BJP confident surgical strikes will help it in UP polls
Surgical strikes have boosted BJP's prospects in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections as the "political will" shown by the Modi government on the issue will resonate among the people, said a senior party leader in an interview with PTI.
National security will "obviously" be a poll plank, said the leader, underlining the "political will" shown by the Modi government in asking the army to cross the LoC to hit terrorist launch pads in Pak-occupied-Kashmir.
"Development and national security are definitely issues. Who did take this decision (of surgical strikes)? It is this government that showed the political will of crossing the border. The army carried this out but the decision was of the government," said the leader, who did not want to be quoted, in an informal interaction with reporters.
BJP will get a strong majority in the polls scheduled for early next year, he asserted.
The saffron party has been out of the power in the country's largest state for close to 15 years. Riding the 'Modi wave' it had swept UP in the Lok Sabha polls but is now facing a stiff fight from two regional parties, ruling SP and BSP, which have ruled it by turn all these years.
The issue of surgical strikes will appeal across the caste divide in the state and, BJP leaders believe, will fetch them extra votes in the same manner as Modi's "developmental agenda" did in 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
The leader claims that the Samajwadi Party remains a strong rival despite the feud in the ruling Yadav clan as it has a "big base" and BSP supremo Mayawati's appeal to Muslims to vote for her party is an indication that its support base was slipping away.
BJP claims that they are better prepared for the assembly polls compared to the Lok Sabha poll in UP.
The PTI interview indicates that BJP is confident that the surgical strikes will give them a big push-up. Asked what difference does he find in the UP election compared to Bihar, another key Hindi heartland state where the party had lost badly last year, he said light-heartedly, "There is a change in atmosphere. Surgical strikes have happened."
Up until now, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has been the only Union minister who has been vocal about the surgical strikes. Though PM Modi gave a measured speech in his Dussehra address in Lucknow, posters stating "Avengers of Uri" were put up throughout the city.
BJP is also likely to rake up issues like Ram temple at Ayodhya issue, the controversy over Centre’s stand on triple talaq, and maintaining law and order.
Samajwadi party's campaigning plans
It's been a month since the bitter family feud in SP, between father-son-uncle trio Mulayam Singh Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav and Shivpal Yadav and the Mulayam Sandesh Yatra is already crisscrossing the state.
The second phase of Samajwadi Party's "Mulayam Sandesh Yatra" has covered 39 assembly constituencies in western Uttar Pradesh.
"The purpose of this yatra is to inform the public that the Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh has fulfilled all the promises it made in its election manifesto," a senior SP leader said.
The first phase of the yatra, from 10 to 20 September, was launched from Lucknow and covered 73 assembly seats.
The Sandesh Yatra would cover all the 403 assembly seats in the next two phases.
In a press conference on Friday, Mulayam Singh Yadav assured there was no rift in the family and announced that SP will not alliance with any other party.
In an interview with The Times of India, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav revealed that he might single-handedly start campaigning for the 2017 assembly elections.
"Bachpan mein, mera naam mujhe khud rakhna pada (When I was a child, there was no one to name me). In the same way, I think I will have to start my election campaign on my own, without waiting for anyone," he told the daily.
The young CM is confident that his training in politics will help him turn the tide and give their party the boost it currently requires.
Congress concludes 'Kisan Yatra', soon to begin 'Rahul Sandesh Yatra'
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi recently concluded his Kisan Yatra, traversing from Deoria to Delhi to woo farmers. After the culmination of his Kisan Yatra in two phases, the Congress second-in-command has planned "Rahul Sandesh Yatra".
It is a "massive" jan jagaran abhiyan (public awareness campaign) to reach out to farmers, a local Congress leader said.
During his 25-day march from Deoria in eastern Uttar Pradesh, the Congress leader connected with around 25,000 households per block in a do-or-die effort to regain lost moorings in state politics.
It is slated to begin on 15 October.
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Updated Date: Oct 14, 2016 15:38:43 IST