UP polls 2017: Dialogue, drama, desperation as action begins

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Breaking news| the action has begun in Uttar Pradesh. Election strategists, central and state ministers, Chief Ministers from other states and the Prime Minister himself are criss-crossing the sprawling state as they hard-sell their parties to voters.

More than a dozen hired choppers are clattering from one rally to the next, carrying leaders of all hues, and making stopovers in small towns and dusty hamlets, while thousands of two- and four-wheelers are on the move, ferrying candidates and supporters.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has addressed two major rallies in Meerut and Aligarh in one week, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has addressed more than 10, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) chief Ajit Singh has been mingling with the Jat community and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati is explaining why she needs to return to power.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and Akhilesh Yadav have jointly held road shows in Lucknow, Agra and Kanpur. Their next stop is Varanasi, which sent Modi to the Lok Sabha. Many state ministers are spending nights in far-flung villages, many without electricity.

Union ministers Kalraj Mishra, Rajnath Singh, Piyush Goel, Smriti Irani, V.K. Singh, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Mukhtaar Abbas Naqvi have been hopping from one city to another. Modi’s digs at his opponents have sparked terse responses.

Modi’s action-packed speeches are being responded to by regional satraps in their own ways. Egged on by social media workers, Akhilesh Yadav is at the forefront of taking on Modi with crisp one liners.

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