Modi-led BJP’s election campaign begins in Northeast

After inaugurating the works of a plethora of infrastructure projects in Manipur, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leaving for Assam for a rally that, the BJP has announced, is his first in the campaign for 2019 general election


Imphal: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday inaugurated eight key development projects and laid the foundation stones for four schemes in Manipur in what is being seen by political observers as his blowing of the election bugle following the interview with ANI.

The prime minister is scheduled to begin the campaign for the 2019 Lok Sabha election in Assam from Silchar in Barak Valley on Friday, a Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson said. The rally is part of the first phase of the election campaign by Modi, the spokesperson said Thursday.

This would be his second visit to Assam in a span of just 10 days. The prime minister had inaugurated the country’s longest rail-cum-road bridge, Bogibeel bridge, on Christmas.

During his day-long visit to the Northeast, Modi first visited Manipur, where he inaugurated and lay foundation stones of various projects on the sidelines of a rally. Then, he addressed a rally at Kalinagar in Silchar area.

The BJP and its allies have set a target to win 21 out of the 25 parliamentary seats in eight states in the region. In Assam, they hope to win at least 11 of the 14 seats.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the saffron party had made massive inroads in Assam, winning seven seats. In the 2016 Assembly election, it emerged as the single-largest party with 61 seats.

The BJP had also emerged as the winner in the Assam panchayat polls last month, bagging 42 per cent of the total seats. The Congress won the second-highest number of seats, accounting for 34 per cent of them, while regional party Asom Gana Parishad finished fourth, behind Independents who bagged 11 per cent of the seats.
Infrastructure push

The prime minister inaugurated the projects during a public rally in Imphal. These include an integrated check post in Moreh, Dolaithabi Barrage, a food storage godown and a buffer water reservoir. “Today, Manipur has received the gift of integrated check post, (built) at a cost of over Rs 125 crore. This is not just a check post… It has dozens of features,” he said.

The Prime Minister also inaugurated improved and upgraded water supply for Churachandpur zone, eco-tourism complex at Thangapat in Kangpokpi district, an integrated tourist destination in Noney district and the water supply scheme at JNV, Lambui and its surrounding villages.

Modi laid the foundation stone for four projects —  infrastructure development of Dhanamanjuri University in Imphal West district, flood lighting of hockey stadium and the main stadium at the Khuman Lampak Sports Complex in Imphal East district and AstroTurf laying in Langjing Achouba of Imphal West district, officials said.