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Amit Shah’s Jind rally in February a vote of confidence in CM Manohar Lal Khattar

The bike rally — in Jind district on February 15 — is being held at a time when Lal is facing all-round criticism over his handling of law and order in the state.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Jan 31, 2018, 06.23 AM IST
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BJP is hoping the rally will attract youth and energise its booth-level workers.
NEW DELHI: In what is being seen as a vote of confidence in Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, BJP President Amit Shah will address a big rally along with Khattar in the state next month, to kick off the party's 2019 Lok Sabha campaign. Both Shah and Khattar are expected to briefly drive to the venue on motorcycles.

The bike rally—in Jind district on February 15—is being held at a time when Khattar is facing all round criticism over his handling of law and order in the state and amid opposition calls for his resignation.

While the BJP’s Haryana unit is going all out to ensure a record attendance at the rally, the party’s state unit chief Subhash Barala told ET that the party has full faith in the chief minister’s leadership. Asked if Shah's visit reposes the same, Barala said: "“This (trust in Khattar’s leadership) is not required to be proved. Work done by the CM is very good. Amit Shah stayed fr 3 days in Haryana last August too. This will be a historic rally in Jind to kick off our 2019 Lok Sabha campaign.”

Jind hit the headlines earlier this month over the brutal rape and murder of a 15-year-old Dalit girl. The victim’s friend, whom the police had named as the primary suspect, was later found murdered about a 100 km from Jind. The boy’s family says the police tortured them after the girl was reported missing.

“Sometimes things happen which pose difficulties but the Haryana government has always made strong attempts to control law and order – there is no major incident where the accused have not been arrested,” Barala said. The Jind case however remains unsolved.

The BJP is hoping the rally will attract youth and energise its booth-level workers.

Barala said at least five people from each of the 17,018 booths in Haryana will drive to the rally venue on motorcycles – implying almost 1 lakh motorcycles will reach the venue.

“About 1,108 bikes will come from each of the 90 assembly constituencies. We will register youths for this from February 1 to 7. All BJP ministers, MPs and MLAs will also reach the venue on motorcycles,” he said.

The BJP president and chief minister are also likely to ride a motorcycle briefly to the venue.

Barala, however, insisted that those coming for the rally will be bringing their own motorcycles and will fill petrol in the same from their own pocket. “Our national president will address the rally. Jind is an important political centre of Haryana and hence it has been chosen as the venue to launch the 2019 campaign,” he added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the 2014 Lok Sabha campaign from Haryana as well, addressing a huge public gathering in Rewari.

The opposition has, however, criticised the BJP’s plan to hold the rally

“This is sheer wastage of public money,” Indian National Lok Dal MP Dushyant Chautala said. “BJP is distributing bikes to the youth but what about jobs? Will Amit Shah be able to come and solve the unemployment problem in Haryana? Look at how crime is rising. This rally is just a face-saver.”

Haryana Congress MP Deepender Hooda said given the high prices of diesel and petrol, Amit Shah and ML Khattar should drive to their rally in a bullock cart rather than motorcycles.

Congress is also launching its Lok Sabha campaign in February from Haryana with a ‘yatra’ by former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda.

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