Express Opinion: Modi magic helps Raje return to power in Rajasthan

ModiThe bustling crowds at Narendra Modiís rallies in Rajasthan have translated into direct votes. (PTI)

Modi magic worked in Rajasthan leading the BJP to a thumping victory in the state. In an unprecedented show, the party secured a record 161 seats by 4pm leaving Congress behind at an embarrassing score of 19 seats.

The bustling crowds at Narendra Modi's rallies in Rajasthan, where the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate held the highest number of rallies, 20 in all, have translated into direct votes. Chief Minister in-waiting Vasundhara Raje too attributed the victory to the Modi-effect.

Each of Modi's rallies saw overwhelming and spirited gatherings rife with sloganeering in favour of the Gujarat Chief Minister, who in whirlwind tours of the state addressed 20 rallies in addition to the massive rally in Jaipur at the culmination of the Suraaj Sankalp Yatra.

In a strategic move, Modi and Vasundhara Raje covered the entire state and instead of going together for each of these rallies, held separate ones. Though political analysts and dissenters within the party called it a rift between the two, the strategy seemed to have worked for them, as a larger area was covered by both the prominent leaders.

The Congress, however, stuck together in a huddle and Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and senior parliamentarians Sachin Pilot, CP Joshi, Lalchand Kataria chose to tour along with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and as a result managed to cover fewer regions in the state. Rahul Gandhi unlike Modi attended only seven rallies in the state and they too were more localized than Modi's rallies that reached out not only to the entire district but also the adjoining districts.

If the response from the crowds at the Congress rallies is anything to go by, the results on Sunday threw no big surprise to the party. Most of the rallies not only had a poor attendance but the audience invariably started walking out midway. Rahul Gandhi's inordinate delays at these rallies too came across as an irresponsible attitude. Despite attending fewer rallies per day, Gandhi always turned up late while Modi, who held up to four rallies on some days, not only was punctual but would also apologise if he reached late.

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