Rakhi, Janmashtami, polls... the campaign begins in Gujarat
Last week, Ahmedabad Mayor Asit Vora played brother for all Brahmakumaris who tied rakhis to him in Maninagar, the ward that he represents. For Vora, who belongs to the BJP, it was the perfect setting to connect with voters in an election year.
Many politicians are making the most of the next fortnight, when Gujarat will celebrate Raksha Bandhan (August 2) and Janmashtami (August 10), to either host or be guests at events where they can meet people and expand their contact group as part of a pre-campaign strategy.
While Vora has plans to visit ISKCON and Swaminarayan temples during Janmashtami, Navsari's BJP MP C R Patil has organised a massive rakhi-tying event to renew bonds in the party, on August 2 in Surat, where he lives.
"We have planned a huge gathering of BJP leaders and workers. Women members will tie rakhis to the male members. With this, differences between leaders and workers will be vanished and even the party workers will come closer to each other," said Patil.
On Janmashtami, he plans to distribute t-shirts to youth embossed with Chief Minister Narendra Modi's image. This will be done under the banner of Govinda Utsav Samiti for the annual matkaphod event.
The mood is upbeat in Rajkot too, where local leaders of both the main parties plan to go all out to catch public attention.
"We will put up hoardings enlisting achievements of the state government in and around the venue of Janmashtami mela at the Race Course ground. We also plan to distribute pamphlets at the fair," said Rajkot city BJP general secretary Rajendrasinh Zala.
Rajkot Mayor Janak Kotak will as usual visit Rukhadiapara, a slum near the railway station, and celebrate Rakshbandhan with locals. "From there, we will go to the central jail to tie rakhis to the inmates. In the afternoon, I will serve a lunch to children at Kameshwar temple on the Jamnagar road," Kotak said, insisting the upcoming elections had nothing to do with his programmes.
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