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Modi’s development pitch to continue in the poll-bound States, BJP wants 20-21 rallies by PM

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to continue with his development pitch and announce a slew of projects over the next week in the five poll-bound states and UTs including West Bengal, where a mega rally is being planned in Kolkata on March 7 for the culmination of the party’s Parivartan Yatras (march for change) criss-crossing the state.

The BJP’s West Bengal unit has proposed that Modi address 20-21 rallies during his whirlwind election campaign which is expected to start from March-end, according to people aware of the matter. It has proposed that every rally covers about a dozen assembly constituencies and two parliamentary constituencies. The PM has already held one public meeting in Haldia on February 7 and will hold another one in Hoogly on Monday.

“The plan has not been finalised at the central level and the final rally numbers could change depending on various factors as five states are together going to the polls. The people of West Bengal, across the entire state, are very keen to listen to Modi in the election,” a senior party functionary told ET on condition of anonymity.

If Modi addresses as many rallies as proposed by the state unit, it would rival his election campaign in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh election when he addressed two dozen rallies. In last year’s Bihar election, he addressed 13 rallies.

On Monday, Modi will be in Assam and West Bengal to inaugurate a flurry of projects in the oil and gas sector in Assam and several railways and metro projects in West Bengal. He was earlier in both states on February 7 to unveil various infrastructure projects. On February 14, he inaugurated various projects when he visited Tamil Nadu and Kerala, and he inaugurated more projects in Tamil Nadu via video link on February 17 and in Kerala on February 19.

He is expected to visit all four states or address them by video link once more before March 2 for the announcement of more development projects, with some likely dates being February 27 (Kerala) and March 1 (Tamil Nadu). Polls are also due to be held in Puducherry.

Modi will also address through video link the annual convocation of IIT Kharagpur in West Bengal on Monday, days after he spoke at the annual convocation of Visva-Bharati University in the state on February 19.

In 2016, the Election Commission of India had announced election dates on March 4 for the five states, and elections were held in West Bengal over six phases between April 4 and May 5, while the results were announced on May 19.

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