BJP prepares for Modi's Bareilly rally, Amit Shah outlines schedule

BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's next stop for his Vijay Shakhnad rally — scheduled for January 13 — is Muslim-dominated Bareilly where workers are busy hunting for a sprawling ground. The BJP state unit has crossed out Ramabai Ambedkar Maidan where Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav held his rally on November 21 for reason that the party is expecting a "crowd of more than five lakh".

BJP national general secretary and UP in-charge Amit Shah, after finalising the schedule for Modi's upcoming rallies, however, did confirm that the party has decided upon Smriti Upwan as the venue for the January 13 rally.

"The Ambedkar maidan is smaller than Smriti Upwan. As we are expecting a crowd of more than five lakh, the venue has been changed to Smriti Upwan, spread over 80 acres," a party leader said. Modi will next hold a rally in Gorakhpur, the date for which will be decided today, followed by a rally in Meerut on February 1. According to Shah, a mega state-level rally has been planned for Lucknow in March.

Bareilly has five Lok Sabha and 26 Assembly constituencies. Of these, the BJP managed to win two seats — Pilibhit and Aonla — in 2009 general elections and five seats in 2012 Assembly elections.

The western UP belt is crucial for BJP as the party sends five of its 10 MPs and 20 of its total 47 MLAs from this region. Also, with Jats comprising a major chunk, the party is expecting a strong polarisation of the community votes to work in its favour in the backdrop of Muzaffarnagar riots.

Earlier, Shah held a meeting with the state office-bearers and reviewed the progress of fund collection, which has been going on for the past several months. Sources said the programme to create a corpus fund of Rs 50 crore for the organisation's routine expenditure, has been extended till March 31.

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