Kozhikode, Sep 22 (IANS) The 500-year-old port city of Kozhikode in Kerala is awash in saffron hue ahead of the BJP’s three-day National Council meet from September 23, with the party putting up posters and hoardings of its prominent leaders, both past and present.
All roads leading to the meet venue — Swapna Nagri — have been decorated with Bharatiya Janata party flags and cutouts of national leaders.
Apart from cutouts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah and party ideologue Deendayal Upadhyay, BJP patriarch L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and all chief ministers of BJP-ruled states figure prominently on posters.
Unlike other party events, central leaders have been given more proninence over local leadership. Among local leaders, state BJP chief K. Rajasekharan and kerala’s first BJP legislator O. Rajagopal figure prominently.
The National Council meet, dedicated to Upadhyay, will conclude on September 25, the day he was born.
Modi, who will reach here on September 24, will announce a year-long commemoration of Upadhyay’s birth centenary.
A party leader told IANS that Modi will launch the year-long ‘Smarpan Yatra’ to mark Upadhyay’s birth centenary. The march will spread Upadhyay’s idea of ‘integral humanism’ and messages related to his ‘sacrifice’.
Swapna Nagri is a huge air-conditioned tent sprawled across 1.50 lakh square feet. An exhibition on the life and views of Upadhyay will be inaugurated by Modi at the venue.
At least 3,000 delegates, including Modi and his ministers, are set to attend the meet.
A BJP leader said it is perhaps for the first time in Kerala’s history that the Union cabinet led by the Prime Minister will be present in the coastal state at one venue.
BJP President Amit Shah was given a grand welcome by party leaders at the airport here on his arrival. Later, he visited two old temples in the city.
“Reached ‘Shilpa Nagaram’ – City of Sculptures (Kozhikode) for #BJPNationalCouncil. Grateful to the people of Kerala for their love and support,” Shah tweeted.
The BJP has dedicated the meet to Upadhyay, though party insiders say the target is to boost the party’s prospects in south India.
In the last assembly elections in Kerala, the BJP managed to open its account and more than double its vote share from 7 to 15 per cent.
(Brajendra Nath Singh can be contacted at email@example.com)