BJP president Amit Shah, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior party leaders generally tell voters that it makes practical sense for them to vote the same party in the state as is ruling in the Centre. In what could be seen as contrary to the principles of federalism enshrined in our Constitution, the BJP leaders make no bones that funds will flow from Centre to state if they have the same party in power.
That is just what Shah did in the Pandu Pindara village of Jind district on Thursday, where he kick started his party's election campaign for Haryana, due middle of next year, addressing a "Yuva Hunkar Rally". In a speech that was predictable in terms of content, Shah lashed out at the Congress and Indian National Lok Dal governments of the past, and said these parties were corrupt. For good measure, he pointed out that while former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala was in jail, the BJP leader and Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar was not facing a single charge of corruption.
Ironically, the Khattar government is the first all-BJP government in the state, though they have been coalition partners of the INLD many times.
Shah referred to the OROP and the budget announcement of higher MSP for kharif crops, and said the BJP at the Centre had done more for Haryana, and given more funds than the Congress.
Shah, however, began by saying it was not an election rally, but a "kumbh mela of party workers" .
To strike a chord with the youth, the BJP president arrived pillion riding on a bike, and following him were thousands of party members on bikes. Riding parallel to him was Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, on the pillion of another bike. The preparations for this were on for over eight weeks now.
In fact, to ensure the success of the bike rally, the first of its kind in political campaigns in the state, Khattar had done a test drive on Wednesday.
Shah used a remote and inaugurated 17 district level offices of the BJP in the state
Meanwhile, in far away Karnal, district level leaders of the INLD were stopped and arrested on grounds that they may disturb the rally, something the Jats had threatened to do, till Khattar agreed to withdraw cases against many Jats who indulged in arson and riot in February 2016.
Green warriors of a different kind had gone to the National Green Tribunal fearing that over a lakh of bikes on the highways may add to the pollution in the National Capital Region. The Khattar government had however foreseen such an eventuality and had ensured all the bikes had valid "pollution under control" certificates.