Haryana, Punjab to witness Kejriwal, Modi rallies

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By Jaideep Sarin
Chandigarh, Feb 21 (IANS)
AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal will launch his party’s campaign for the Lok Sabha polls in Haryana Sunday, the same day the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi will address a rally in neighbouring Punjab.

Kejriwal, who hails from Haryana, is expected to speak at a public meeting in Rohtak town, only 75 km from Delhi where he was chief minister for 49 days at the head of an Aam Aadmi Party government.

Some 275 km away, Modi, the Gujarat chief minister, will address a joint rally of Punjab’s ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party in Jagraon town.

The AAP leadership has carefully chosen Haryana, the land of the epic Mahabharat, to be its next political battleground after its near stunning show in the Delhi elections in December last year.

In the run up to the Delhi polls, the majority of the AAP volunteers came from Haryana.

“The AAP has brought the aam aadmi, who had been relegated to the margins, right in the centre of politics of this country,” Haryana’s chief AAP spokesman Rajeev Godara said.

“The winds of change that blew through Delhi are now sweeping the entire country. The traditional political parties have been brought to their knees.

“The ordinary people of Haryana, who were aggrieved by dynastic politics, nepotism, corruption and criminal antecedents of their political leaders, now see a ray of hope,” Godara added.

The AAP has announced that its strategist Yogendra Yadav will contest the Lok Sabha election from Gurgaon in Haryana adjoining Delhi.

Yadav, who has been actively touring Haryana for over two months, is determined to expand the AAP base in the state.

The AAP leaders have attacked the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government for corruption and land scams. Hooda, who has been chief minister since March 2005, will also face the assembly polls in October.

In neighbouring Punjab, where the AAP does not have a strong base as of now, the BJP and the Akali Dal are sitting pretty.

Modi’s “Fateh” (victory) rally in Jagraon town, 40 km from Ludhiana, is expected to further boost the electoral chances of the Akali Dal-BJP alliance.

Modi was scheduled to address a rally in Jagraon Dec 21 but it was called off due to rains.

“Modi is the best man to lead the country and take it out of the mess the Congress has created,” Akali Dal president and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said.

“Lakhs are expected to attend the Jagraon rally. The Congress will be wiped out in Punjab,” Akali Dal spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema said.

The Akali Dal is a significant member of the NDA and has fully endorsed the announcement of Modi as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. The Akali Dal-BJP alliance government has been in power in Punjab since 2007.

(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at jaideep.s@ians.in)

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