Decoding PM Modi, Rahul Gandhi's election campaigns
While this two-month-long election season awaits conclusion, campaigning for the seventh phase of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections wrapped up on Friday. From March 11-May 17, when the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) was enforced, Prime Minister Narendra Modi conducted 144 rallies across 25 states and 2 Union Territories (UTs). Meanwhile, Congress President Rahul Gandhi addressed 125 rallies across 23 states and 2 UTs.
What were Modi's priority states?
Around one-third of Modi's 144 rallies were held in the states of Uttar Pradesh (36 rallies) and West Bengal (17). Uttar Pradesh is an obvious preference for Modi, where the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) secured 73 of the state's 80 Lok Sabha constituencies in 2014. Modi also hopes beating Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of the 42-seat West Bengal, to win their bitter quarrel.
Odisha third on PM Modi's radar
Modi also prioritized 21-seat Odisha, where he held eight rallies. Combined, UP, Bengal, and Odisha, comprise 143 Lok Sabha seats. Surprisingly, Modi held no public rally in the Varanasi constituency, a seat he is contesting from, barring a roadshow before filing nomination.
After campaigning, Modi's taking a 'spiritual break' visiting Kedarnath, Badrinath
Prayed at the Kedarnath Temple. Har Har Mahadev! pic.twitter.com/ox7LMCZmfi— Chowkidar Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 18, 2019
Gandhi's 51/125 rallies held in UP, Rajasthan, Kerala, MP
Gandhi held 18 rallies in 80-seat Uttar Pradesh, he is contesting from Amethi, a Gandhi family stronghold. Followed by 12 rallies in Rajasthan, where Congress beat BJP in state polls last year, and Kerala, where Gandhi is contesting from the Wayanad aside from his Amethi seat, each. He held 10 rallies in Madhya Pradesh, another state where Congress beat BJP in last state polls.
Sonia Gandhi also contesting Raebareli seat from UP
Uttar Pradesh is also the state where Gandhi's sister and Congress' general secretary in-charge in eastern UP, Priyanka Gandhi, jump-started her political career. Their mother, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, will contest to retain the Raebareli seat for the fifth time.
Sunday: Polls in 59 seats across 7 states, 1 UT
Polling will be conducted in 59 parliamentary constituencies across seven states and one UT on Sunday. All constituencies in Punjab (13) and Himachal Pradesh (4), 13 constituencies in Uttar Pradesh, 9 in West Bengal, 8 in Bihar, 8 in Madhya Pradesh, 3 in Jharkhand, and 1 in Chandigarh, will go to poll. Results for the general elections will be announced on May 23.