200 Rallies To Battle Perception Deficit--Modi To Address First In Mathura Today

25/05/2015 10:37 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivers the inaugural speech during an event to mark the national Panchayati Raj or village civil council day, in New Delhi, India, Friday, April 24, 2015. Modi on Friday urged Panchayat members to work with a five-year vision with concrete development plans to bring about positive changes in their village and also emphasized on the need for education, according to local reports. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be in Mathura today to address a rally kicking off the week-long celebrations marking the completion of the first year of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has organised 200 such rallies across the country, calling it “Jan Kalyan Parv” or “People’s Welfare Festival”, where all party leaders — Union Ministers, MPs, Chief Ministers and MLAs — are expected to highlight the government's achievements. Separately, 5,000 "Jan Sabhas" will take place in smaller administrative areas ("tehsils").

Modi will be addressing the first of these rallies at Nagla Chandrabhan village in Mathura on Monday, which is the birthplace of Deen Dayal Upadhyay.

The government has in recent months been hobbled by the growing perception that it is not delivering on the urgent pace of reform and change Modi had promised during a fever-pitch election campaign. A steady litany of complaints from industrialists and former admirers, apart from the fallout from the battle over the Land Acquisition Bill, during which the opposition managed to make the government look anti-farmer, has alarmed the government. For the last two weeks, ministers have given a series of interviews to the press, which this government and particularly the prime minister, prefers to keep at a distance.

But since Modi believes in direct communication, social media and public rallies will be the preferred mode of educating the people about the government's performance during the first year.

More than one lakh people are expected to attend Modi's rally today, and his speech will also be telecast live to over 130 countries across the world, a BJP leader has said. Modi will arrive in a helicopter at around 3.45 pm.

While local police have claimed that their arrangements are "foolproof", the Mathura SSP's office has received a letter warning of an explosion at the rally ground today. In a separate incident, a man was arrested on Saturday night after his brother sent a mobile text message to a journalist, threatening to kill Modi. Police have termed these "silly threats".

Over 3,000 police officers and commandos will keep watch today, and a new road was laid to help with arrangements.

Seven other press conferences and meetings spearheaded by union ministers are expected over the rest of the week in Uttar Pradesh, where the government's achievements will be highlighted.

Meanwhile BJP chief Amit Shah will address a press conference in Delhi tomorrow, exactly a year since Modi assumed office. Later in the day, he will address a public rally at Karnal, followed by visits to Surat and Panaji later in the week.

All Central Ministers will commit three days to address rallies and press conferences this week, said Union Minister Ananth Kumar.

(with agency inputs)

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