PUNE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address nine public meetings in the run-up to the October 21 assembly polls in Maharashtra, the first major political contest after the Lok Sabha outing, for the BJP-led "Mahayuti" alliance which is seeking a second consecutive term.
Besides Modi, Home Minister and BJP president Amit Shah is set to address 18 public meetings in coming days.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modiji will address nine public meetings, two of them are scheduled to take place in Pune and Satara on October 17," BJP state unit president Chandrakant Patil said on Sunday.
ALSO READ | BJP-Shiv Sena alliance will get over 200 seats in Maharashtra polls, claims Prakash Javadekar
Patil is in the fray from Kothrud constituency in Pune city.
In Satara, former NCP leader and a direct descendant of Chhtrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Udayanraje Bhosale who joined the BJP recently, is in the fray for the Lok Sabha bypoll which will be held along with the assembly elections.
Patil said chunk of Shah's rallies will take place in western Maharashtra, the bastion of the Congress and the NCP.
"We have asked alliance candidates and their party workers from 11 constituencies in Pune district to attend the public meetings of Modi and Shah," he said.
The BJP is contesting in alliance with the Shiv Sena and smaller allies--RPI (A), Shiv Sangram Party, Rashtriya Samaj Paksha and Rayat Kranti Sanghatna.
ALSO READ | Maharashtra polls: CM Devendra Fadnavis, NCP's Ajit Pawar file nominations
In his rally in Nashik last month, the PM had blamed the Congress for the plight of Kashmiris for decades and called for making efforts to create a "new paradise" in the Valley after withdrawal of the special status under Article 370.
Addressing a party meeting in Mumbai last month, Shah had indicated that the BJP would raise scrapping of the special status as a poll plank.
The NDA alliance is squaring off against the Congress-NCP combine in the crucial contest characterised by defections from the Opposition camp.
The contest also has the undertone of the BJP battling for supremacy over the Sena, which considers itself as the "elder brother" in the state politics.
In 2014 polls, the BJP and the Sena had contested separately and won 122 seats and 63 seats, respectively, out of the total 288.
In the Lok Sabha elections held this summer for the total 48 seats, the BJP bagged 23 seats while the Sena emerged victorious in 18 constituencies, with vote shares of 27.59% and 23.29%, respectively.