February 27 2020
Maharashtra BJP hopes to win riding on Modi wave
16 September 2013

The BJP is hoping that the nomination of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as the BJP-led NDA’s prime ministerial nominee may prove to be a “game changer” in Mumbai and urban areas across Maharashtra, where it faces a tough battle against the ruling Congress-NCP and the MNS in the coming Lok Sabha polls.

In 2009, the BJP-Shiv Sena lost all six seats in Mumbai to the Congress-NCP alliance, largely due to the split in opposition votes engineered by the presence of MNS. The MNS dented the prospects of the saffron alliance in 10 of the 12 seats that it contested in Maharashtra.

Modi, with his potent mix of Hindutva and development Moditva to the party faithful is expected to woo the educated and the middle class apart from fence-sitters who can tip the scales in the first-past-the-post system and also stem the flow of the youth and first-time voters who are otherwise seen as a natural catchment for the saffron alliance to the MNS.

“Apart from Gujarati, Marwadi and a section of Maharashtrian voters, Modi will also help shift the fence-sitting voters to us,” said a BJP veteran, adding that the decision would rejuvenate the party organisation.

“Young voters feel he is a good alternative and will vote for us. It will help young voters gravitate from the MNS to the Sena-BJP. Raj, too, may find himself in a quandary as he is known to share an equation with Modi and has praised him in the past. Now, he may find it difficult to criticise him in the same breath,” he said, claiming that people who stayed away from voting due to cynicism with politics were now likely to vote for Modi.

“However, Modi is just one factor, just nominating him is not a sure-shot recipe for success. The BJP must strengthen its organisation… Modi is a brand which must be marketed properly by the party,” the leader pointed out.

Senior BJP leader from Mumbai Atul Bhatkhalkar said, “Modi’s appointment will be a game changer in Mumbai.” He said it would help them win at least five of the six Lok Sabha seats in the metropolis.

Bhatkhalkar pointed out that of the three seats lost by the BJP in Mumbai, two were by a very slender margin. “Modi’s appeal cuts across all castes and creeds, especially among young voters,” he said, adding that the Modi effect would also work in Thane, Pune and Nashik.



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