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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, October 31: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday flagged off a couple of trains from the Ahmedabad railways station. This month Modi was in Gujarat for 11 days, while he is slated to be in the poll bound state on Tuesday also.

The 2017 Gujarat Assembly elections had proven to be a test match for Modi who opened the innings for the Bharatiya Janata Party and kept playing till the last ball was bowled when he flew in a seaplane in the presence of the massive crew of cameras from the Sabarmati Riverfront to a temple city. After the poll outcome, the political pandits concurred that Modi had pulled away a difficult election, as the BJP was pushed to the wall in the rural Gujarat while the big urban centres helped the saffron outfit stay in power.

The Election Commission of India is yet to announce the dates for the Gujarat Assembly elections. But Modi has already been to Gujarat this month for 11 days, besides addressing a few events in the state through video conference. October could just be the practice session for Modi before he again takes stance for the Gujarat Assembly elections once the dates are announced.

The Election Commission of India has however announced the date for Himachal Pradesh where Modi has so far gone for three days this month. Himachal Pradesh elections would be held on November 12. The BJP chief JP Nadda is leading the party charge in the hilly state. For Congress, the principal and only rival of the BJP in the state, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, party’s national general secretary, is leading the campaign.

But Modi’s clear attention is on Gujarat. The Centre incidentally planned a number of marquee events in the state in the run up to the announcement of the poll date to turn the spotlight on the Modi model of development. The 12th edition of DefExpo was held in Gandhinagar, Sabarmati Riverfront (Ahmedabad) and Porbandar, which witnessed a massive participation as India hosted dialogue with African countries and also that of the Indian Ocean Rim nations.

The Centre also hosted a number of meetings of the state ministers in Gujarat, with some of them addressed by Modi through video conference. Modi’s intense visits to Gujarat to lay foundation stones for developmental projects, inauguration of the completed works are seen to be clear attempts to freshen the Prime Minister’s Gujarat pride connections in the minds of the electorate.

Incidentally, Modi has turned his full attention to Gujarat at a time when the main rival Congress is stated to be in a state of disarray having been affected with a number of defections, while the Opposition party is also missing the services of late Ahmed Patel. However, Aam Aadmi Party after sweeping the Punjab Assembly elections is camping in Gujarat with the full might of the two states –Delhi and Punjab.

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