The prime minister is appealing to some of India’s best known public figures, including some of his fiercest rivals, to help get out the vote when millions head to the polls in April and May.
PM Modi appealed to Gandhi, Banerjee, Sharad Pawar, Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav, Tejashwi Yadav and MK Stalin, asking them to “encourage increased voter participation in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. A high turnout augurs well for our democratic fabric”.
I appeal to @RahulGandhi, @MamataOfficial, @PawarSpeaks, @Mayawati, @yadavakhilesh, @yadavtejashwi and @mkstalin to encourage increased voter participation in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. A high turnout augurs well for our democratic fabric.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 13, 2019
PM did not tag Delhi Chief Minister & AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal in his tweets
In his next tweet, he tagged Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and YSR Congress leader Jagan Mohan Reddy, urging them to “work towards bringing maximum Indians to the polling booths in the upcoming elections. May voter awareness efforts be strengthened across the length and breadth of India”.
He also reached out to Nitish Kumar, Ram Vilas Paswan and Pawan Chamling, saying: “Soliciting your support and active participation in improving voting across the country in the coming elections. Let us strive to create an atmosphere where maximum voting can take place.”
Interestingly, the Prime Minister did not tag Delhi Chief Minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal in his tweets.
India will hold elections to the seventeenth Lok Sabha in seven phases between April 11 and May 19. Votes will be counted on May 23.
The election is shaping up to be a contest between an NDA government widely seen as having avenged a suicide bombing in Kashmir, and an increasingly united opposition — one that includes a Congress buoyed by strong state election performances in the Hindi belt.
Omar Abdullah, one of the politicians tagged in PM Modi’s tweets, said it was good to see him appealing to celebrities to boost turnout.
At the same time, he said, “your government has consciously disenfranchised people in J&K by not holding assembly elections on time”.
“The right to choose an elected government, as opposed to being governed by a handpicked nominee of the central government, is the hallmark of the sort of democracy you are tweeting about.,” the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said.
“Please give us our democratic right to choose our own government.”