India Today - - SPECIAL REPORT -

Though Modi is known to keep his cards close to his chest, sources close to him say that he has al­ready chalked out his strat­egy for the next four months with a fo­cus on Ut­tar Pradesh and Bi­har, states that to­gether send 120 mem­bers to Par­lia­ment. Some fans even spec­u­late that Modi plans to adopt Ut­tar Pradesh as his ‘ karmab­hoomi’ and may con­test from one of the sym­bol­i­cally im­por­tant con­stituen­cies of Varanasi, Al­la­habad or Lucknow. Some sup­port­ers hope that he will choose Lucknow so that he can of­fi­cially in­herit the man­tle of Atal Bi­hari Va­j­payee, who rep­re­sented the seat for five con­sec­u­tive terms till 2009. But can he aban­don Gu­jarat, the home state that has made him a global brand of de­vel­op­ment pol­i­tics?

Be­gin­ning end- June, Modi plans to ad­dress 75 ral­lies till Septem­ber 25, birth­day of Pan­dit Deen­dayal Upad­hyaya, one of the builders of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh. He is likely to take a break and spend more time in his state dur­ing the mon­soon ses­sion of the Assem­bly in Au­gust. “He does not want to give the mes­sage to the peo­ple of his state that he has for­saken them. Even the Op­po­si­tion in the state will pounce on him on the is­sue,” says a BJP leader, known to be close to Modi. His next big thing for Gu­jarat: A statue of Sar­dar Val­lab­hb­hai Pa­tel, twice the height of the Statue of Lib­erty, at Sadhu Bet over river Nar­mada. He has pledged to make the ‘ Statue of Unity’ us­ing iron from ploughs of farm­ers in each vil­lage of the coun­try.

Modi is likely to break his jour­ney into phases and his team is al­ready at work, draw­ing up an itin­er­ary for him. In the first phase, Modi will fo­cus on states where the BJP has ceded ground over the years. In ad­di­tion to Ut­tar Pradesh, th­ese in­clude Kar­nataka and Andhra Pradesh. Modi will also tour states that are go­ing to polls be­fore the year- end— Mad­hya Pradesh, Ra­jasthan, Delhi and Ch­hat­tis­garh. “RSS has in­structed the chief min­is­ters of Mad­hya Pradesh ( Shivraj Singh Chouhan) and Ch­hat­tis­garh ( Ra­man Singh) to ex­tend in­vites to Modi to ad­dress ral­lies in their states. It should not ap­pear as if Modi is tread­ing on their ground,” says an in­sider.

Modi is be­ing ex­tremely care­ful to avoid any con­tro­versy. He will go to sen­si­tive states like Bi­har in

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