First show of strength by INDIA and NDA allies after poll dates declaration, electioneering heats up

New Delhi, March 17 (IANS) A day after the announcement of poll dates for general elections 2024, the day marks a ‘Super Sunday’ for the ruling BJP and opposition INDIA bloc. Both the alliances are set for major show of strength in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra this evening, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi respectively.

PM Modi is set to address a large congregation of people in Andhra Pradesh’s Palnadu district, along with TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu and Pawan Kalyan-led Jana Sena Party. This will also be the first time former Andhra Pradesh CM Naidu and Pawan Kalyan will share the stage with the Prime Minister. NDA’s first big election rally, just a day after announcement of poll dates, will set the tone for elections in the state and give the alliance a headstart in the campaign.

For the opposition parties under INDIA bloc, Mumbai’s Shivaji Park is the zone of action this evening as supporters are rushing in large numbers to celebrate Rahul Gandhi’s conclusion of Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra.

Many opposition leaders like Uddhav Thackeray (Shiv Sena-UBT), Sharad Pawar (NCP-SP), DMK President M. K. Stalin, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav will mark their presence the mega rally at Shivaji park.

The gathering of INDIA alliance leaders on stage, a day after culmination of Rahul Gandhi’s 63-day long Nyay Yatra, is aimed at rallying its supporters for a spirited fight against BJP in Maharasthra, and all across the nation.

Political watchers see it as good optics by INDIA but have apprehensions about the message it wants to convey. Maharashtra remains the weakest link of INDIA as both Shiv Sena and NCP have fallen apart, with stronger and bigger splinter groups joining hands with BJP.

For Congress, in particular, there has been many setbacks lately as party stalwarts like Ashok Chavan and Milind Deora recently snapped ties with it.

In days to come, the electioneering is set to heat up and both NDA and INDIA allies will pull out all stops to woo the electorate. Recent opinion polls have already come as a shot in the arm for BJP while the INDIA bloc is seen playing catch-up, both in Mahasrashta and across India.

Also, the optics for today’s rallies favour BJP, as experts feel. While PM Modi-led NDA is widely expected to bring major disruption in Telangana, the gathering of INDIA leaders on a ‘lost territory’ won’t be enough to send the right message.

In Andhra Pradesh, BJP finalised alliance with TDP and Jana Sena Party, days after PM Modi’s call for 370 seats on BJP’s own, and breaching the 400 mark, with support from allies. BJP has struck deals with both regional satraps to fight Lok Sabha and Andhra Pradesh Assembly polls together. It will contest on six Lok Sabha and 10 Assembly seats, while TDP and Jana Sena Party on 17 Lok Sabha and 144 Assembly seats, and two Lok Sabha and 21 Assembly seats respectively.

Although, TDP stands to gain much from the alliance, on a national level, BJP is expected to get a boost in numbers and make it easier to accomplish its “400 paar” target.



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