BJP ropes in star campaigners for Jammu; PM Modi in Udhampur on April 12

The BJP has nominated the incumbent MP Jitender Singh from Udhampur constituency

India Security (File) Security personnel guard outside the Maulana Azad stadium ahead of a BJP rally helmed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Jammu

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the star campaigner for the BJP in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls in Jammu. Modi is set to address a major rally in Udhampur on April 12. The BJP has nominated the incumbent MP Jitender Singh from the constituency. 

Singh's main rival is Chaudhary Lal Singh, who recently rejoined the Congress. Jitender Singh has emerged victorious in the previous two parliamentary elections from Udhampur, while Chaudhary had also secured wins twice before 2014. 

However, in the last Lok Sabha polls, Chaudhary managed to garner only 60,000 votes, while Singh defeated former Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad by a margin of 160,000 votes.  

Observers believe that Chaudhary faces a tough task ahead, given Singh's advantage and the popularity of Modi among voters in the constituency. However, he is currently the best bet for the Congress.

Modi's participation in the campaign has significantly boosted the morale of the BJP cadres in Jammu. Alongside him, a lineup of star campaigners, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Ministers Smriti Irani, Anurag Thakur, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, MP Hema Malini, and party candidate Kangana Ranaut from Mandi (Himachal Pradesh), are gearing up to kickstart campaigns next week for the two seats in the Jammu region. Smriti, Hema, and Kangana are expected to campaign in the second phase. 

J&K BJP chief spokesperson Sunil Sethi told The Week that Modi will address a mega rally in Udhampur, greatly anticipated by party supporters. This will mark Modi’s third trip to Jammu and Kashmir this year after February 20 and March 7. 

Observers believe that Modi’s campaign for BJP candidates Singh and Jugal Kishore, who is also seeking a third term from Jammu-Reasi, will shore up support for the party. The details regarding dates and venues for the other star campaigners are yet to be finalised due to security considerations. 

Shah may campaign in the Jammu parliamentary constituency, but nothing is confirmed for Kashmir, including the Rajouri-Anantnag parliamentary constituency. Regarding the nomination of party candidates for three seats in Kashmir, the BJP’s Parliamentary Board is likely to take a decision shortly.

The Congress has also lined up a bevvy of crowd pullers, including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, to campaign for the party in Jammu and Kashmir. The Congress, a key member of the INDIA alliance, is fielding candidates on only two seats in Jammu and Kashmir - Udhampur-Doda and Jammu-Reasi - with the support of regional parties, the NC, and the PDP.

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