NEW DELHI: With the long-drawn Jharkhand Assembly election campaign coming to an end, PM Narendra Modi appears to have signalled that he has stepped into the role of a larger narrative setter in place of slogging hard to win states for the BJP. Modi, who attended nine rallies in Jharkhand, sought to boost the morale of the party with attempts to steer the poll narrative to larger national issues to help the party beat the local factors attracting limelight during electioneering.
While Modi had held a similar number of rallies in Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly elections, the burden of the campaigning had fallen on the shoulders of BJP chief and Union Minister Amit Shah and working president JP Nadda. Shah held around 10 rallies while Nadda addressed more than 20.
The PM visited Jharkhand for five days for campaigning. The BJP used Modi for one day each for the five phases of polls, with the Raghubar Das-led incumbent government in the state seeking popular endorsement for another term.
In the first four days of campaigning, Modi held two rallies each, and afterwards, he addressed one public meeting in the last phase.
“Modi as the principal campaigner rallied the morale of the party workers and sent out the message that the BJP government at the Centre should be seen advantageous for the state with the party in power to steer on the path of development. This strategy was aimed at beating anti-incumbency against the incumbent chief minister, who couldn’t carve out a mass appeal in all parts of the state,” said a senior BJP functionary.
With Jharkhand being famous for political instability as no party has got a majority in the state since its formation in 2001, the BJP had to face a host of local factors weighing down the party’s prospects. “The state is socially fragmented on caste and community lines, while lack of alliance made the party’s task tough to dominate electioneering even while political stability remained BJP’s principal talking point,” added the BJP functionary.