New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to launch his campaign for the 2019 general elections on Thursday with three public meetings scheduled to take place in the politically crucial western Uttar Pradesh town of Meerut, the second rally is in Uttarakhand while the last will be held in Jammu.
The three public meetings are in areas going to polls in the first phase of general elections and voting for the first phase is scheduled to take place on 11 April. This is the first time Modi will hold public meetings after the dates of the general elections were announced.
Modi has already held over 50 public meetings in the last three months and has completed visiting nearly all the states for the inauguration or completion of government projects. The first phase of polling that is scheduled t take place on 11 April will witness electoral contest in 91 constituencies across 20 states.
The choice of Meerut as the starting point of Modi's election campaign is interesting because Modi had visited the city soon after he was nominated as the prime ministerial candidate of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) before the 2014 general elections. The impact of Modi's campaign and his personal popularity was such that BJP won all the seats in western Uttar Pradesh during the previous general elections and the performance was repeated in 2017 assembly elections of Uttar Pradesh.
Uttar Pradesh is key to BJP's plan to return to power as the state has 80 Lok Sabha constituencies and BJP led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had won 73 out of total 80 Lok Sabha seats in the 2014 general elections.
The second public meeting of the day is scheduled to take place in Rudrapur in Uttarakhand. BJP had won all the five Lok Sabha seats in 2014 general elections and the party would want continue its political stronghold on the state. BJP had won the assembly elections held in 2017 in the state.
Modi's last public meeting of the day is in Jammu which has emerged as a stronghold of BJP in the last five years. Apart from Lok Sabha seats, the Jammu region was instrumental in BJP's performance during assembly elections of Jammu and Kashmir as it emerged as the second most important political party in the state.