The Congress may have succeeded in gaining lead of sorts in the initial phase of campaign by fielding the bigwigs but Modi wave has played a significant role in downsizing their impact.

By conducting five rallies in a single day in Punjab, the Gujarat Chief Minister has not only infused a new lease of life in BJP-Akali Dal combine but also sent the Congress, which is already finding it tough to negotiate bouncers, on back-foot.

Prior to Modi’s visit, the Punjab government was reeling under anti-incumbency wave and several works initiated by Parkash Singh Badal-led government also upset the people.

The Congress wasted no time in encashing onto this and taking digs at the BJP-Akali combine. Modi, during his rallies, touched those issues against Congress, which were being used by it to strangle the Akalis.

After Modi’s tirade, the political battle has become even more interesting in Punjab. By raising pr0blems of several sections of people including that of farmers, industrialists, businessmen, labourers and working class, Modi has touched an array of issues and at the time same, also tried to ‘win’ their empathy.

He also spoke on the issue of suicide of farmers in the state, corruption, inflation and industries moving out of the state.

According to a local resident, Modi raised some of the realistic issues associated with the Central government. The Centre did not dole out any kind of assistance to the farmers for the damage caused by the hailstorm and Modi did not waste any opportunity to target the Centre over ‘injustice’ caused to the local residents.

It’s in fact quite evident that the Congress’ strategy has received a major jolt due to Modi wave in Punjab.

Kartarpur resident Maninder Akali said that though he is upset with the Akali government, yet he would vote for the BJP in order to ensure Modi’s victory. The way Modi has highlighted the problems of districts located along the border, people want him to see him as Prime Minister once.

In most of the posters seen in Amritsar, Modi appears along with BJP candidate from the constituency – Arun Jaitley. However, he was not seen in the election pamphlets along with Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Among all the North Indian states, only in Punjab, some of the major heavyweights of Congress like Ambika Soni, Ravneet Singh Bittu, party candidate from Amritsar Captain Amarinder Singh and state Congress chief Pratap Singh Bajwa are challenging the saffron-Akali combine.

The Congress, which was already smarting under the anti-incumbency wave in the state, is now facing a vista of problems after the BJP fielded some strong candidates against their nominees in the ongoing elections. Besides, Modi wave has caused enough damage to the Congress’ spirit.

(JPN/Bureau)

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