Prime Minister Narendra Modi
is headed for a punishing schedule in the next 40-odd days.
As his party’s chief canvasser, the PM will be leading his Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) election campaign in Gujarat, where a win is crucial, and Himachal Pradesh.
He is slated to address dozens of public rallies in the two states but would also need to attend Parliament during the winter session, tentatively expected to begin from November 13 and end on December 11.
In the midst of a hectic schedule, the PM would also need to find time to meet visiting foreign dignitaries and attend the East Asia Summit in the Philippines.
While much of his time is likely to be spent in Gujarat in November and December, a senior leader closely associated with the BJP’s election preparedness in the state rejected reports that Modi could be addressing as many as 50 public rallies in his home state.
Gujarat is scheduled for two-phase polling — on December 9 and 14. Himachal Pradesh
votes on November 9.
The PM is slated to address five to six rallies in Himachal Pradesh, on November 2, 4 and 5.
On Saturday, the PM is scheduled to interact with the media at the BJP’s annual Diwali get-together in the Capital. He is scheduled to address a public rally in Karnataka’s Bidar on Sunday.
On Monday, the PM would be in New Delhi to attend delegation-level talks with visiting Italian PM Paolo Gentiloni. Not only is Italy one of India’s key trading partners in the European Union, the last visit by an Italian Prime Minister to India was a decade back in February 2007.
The PM would also need to find time to meet King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium, who will pay a state visit to India on November 5-11.
Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, will pay a two-day visit to India on November 8 and 9. They are scheduled to meet the PM on November 8. The PM is also likely to attend the East Asia Summit in the Philippines on November 13 and 14.
Besides, the PM would need to attend important government events. On November 3, he will inaugurate ‘World Food India’, which will be attended by chief ministers of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh as well as chief executives of leading food processing companies.
The Gujarat Assembly election campaign would see the PM and BJP chief Amit Shah
launch a blitzkrieg of public meetings in their home state from the second week of November.
BJP leaders entrusted with poll preparedness said dates and venues of the PM’s public rallies in the state were still in the works and they would not hazard a guess as to the number of meetings that the PM might address.
BJP general secretary and Gujarat in-charge Bhupender Yadav is already stationed in the state, and most senior leaders and Union ministers have been asked to pitch in. Party chief Shah would be mostly in Gujarat galvanising workers.
The party has reached out to its workers in each of the 50,128 polling booths of the state. The party is also preparing to counter the Opposition’s efforts to observe November 8, the anniversary of demonetisation, as ‘black day’, by marking it as ‘anti-black money day’.
From mid-November, both Modi and Shah would be faced with the challenge finding time for both the Gujarat campaign and Parliament’s winter session.
Shah was elected to the Rajya Sabha in August and it will be his first full session. The winter session is expected to be stormy. It also coincides with protests by trade unions and farmer organisations.
PM Modi's Schedule