HYDERABAD: Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned to the same venue from where he sought mandate in 2014 -- the LB Stadium. He was greeted by a massive, crowd chanting his name and cheering. From the very beginning, Modi sought to connect the local sentiment to the larger gameplan of his party. “I love Hyderabad,” he said in Telugu, quickly adding that he could come here freely only because of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Incidentally, the venue at which the Prime Minister was speaking at is named after Lal Bahadur Shashtri, a Congress stalwart and former PM himself. He was referring to the role Patel played in accession of Hyderabad. Saffron party supporters turned up in large numbers and none of them had doubts that the party would boost its prospects in the southern State.
“BJP will win at least 15 seats,” boasted R Narayanam, an accountant and supporter of the saffron party. “We will definitely cross the double-digit mark. Of this, five seats will be within the GHMC limits,” he claimed. Many others felt that BJP could emerge as the kingmaker if not the king. They felt this election would throw up a fractured mandate that could be healed by BJP’s support. However, none wanted to comment on who this ‘king’ would be. For many others, this was just the beginning. Improvements in this elections will pave way for better results next time, they felt. Swami Paripoornanda is building the cadre and there is a good response in certain districts,” Narayanan added as he stepped on his chair to quickly capture the video of Modi coming on to the dais.
“Tell me one scheme announced by the current government that is exclusive to Hindus?” claimed law student Akash Singh Lodh, who seemed to believe the majority community needs exclusive policies that do not apply to minorities. “TRS is taking our tax money and giving it to ‘them’,” he said.