Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP is desperately trying to repeat its 2014 performance of Lok Sabha elections, continues to disappoint the saffron party.
After lukewarm response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in Meerut, which went to polls on 11 February, the BJP chief Amit Shah too was forced to address a largely empty ground at Pilibhit’s Drummond College on Saturday. Nearly three fourth of the ground could not be filled even after Shah’s arrrival at the rally venue.
Of course, the photos posted by Shah himself on Twitter appeared to show a good crowd but that was largely because they were close ups.
पीलीभीत जनसभा: उत्तर प्रदेश के हर वर्ग में भारतीय जनता पार्टी के लिए जिस तरह का उत्साह है उससे भाजपा प्रचंड बहुमत की ओर अग्रसर है | pic.twitter.com/8YX6ZzmJi9
— Amit Shah (@AmitShah) February 11, 2017
Journalist Shivam Vij too tweeted the video from the ground;
Vij’s subsequent tweet too described the crowd as ‘small.’
In Pilibhit, Amit Shah has to tell a small crowd to show enthusiasm – asks them to show "parivartan ka aakrosh" pic.twitter.com/RnhQO4wbVp
— Shivam Vij (@DilliDurAst) February 11, 2017
Pilibhit is currently represented by Maneka Gandhi in Lok Sabha. Her son Varun Gandhi has always been at loggerheads with Shah after the latter unceremoniously dropped from key party post soon after taking over as the BJP president in 2014.
The decision to exclude Varun, an otherwise very popular BJP leader even beyond his constituency, Sultanpur, from the list of party’s star campaigners was allegedly taken at Shah’s behest.
Sources within the BJP say that Varun’s supporters were visibly unhappy with the treatment meted out to their leader and they were determined to ensure that the saffron party’s candidates faced defeats in the ongoing assembly polls. Anger among jats , severe infighting and demonetisation effect have become three most worrying factors that could adversely impact the BJP’s poll prospects in Uttar Pradesh.