Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi are scheduled to campaign on Friday in Chhattisgarh for the first phase of the assembly elections in the state.
While PM Modi will address a rally in Jagdalpur, the headquarter of Bastar district, Gandhi will tour the state for two days during which he will hold a roadshow in Rajnandgaon the constituency of Chief Minister Raman Singh and address five rallies.
The prime minister is scheduled to arrive first at Raipur airport at 11:20 am and then take a helicopter to Jagdalpur. The rally of PM Modi is expected at around 1 pm. Following the rally, he will leave for Raipur at 2 pm and then return to Delhi, a state BJP spokesperson said on Thursday. "This will be the PM's first election rally for the state Assembly polls. It will add power to the party's campaign," the spokesperson added.
On the other hand, Gandhi will address his first rally in Pakhanjore town of Kanker district at noon, followed by public meetings in Rajnandgaon district's Khairgarh and Dongargarh towns, and a roadshow in Rajnandgaon, said the head of Congress state communication wing Shailesh Nitin Trivedi.
He will put up at Rajnandgaon for the night and on Saturday, will address rallies in Charama (Kanker district) and Kondagaon, Trivedi said, adding that the Congress chief would also chair a meeting of party workers in Jagdalpur.
Raman Singh is also scheduled to hold a roadshow in Rajnandgaon on Friday evening. He is pitted against the Congress's Karuna Shukla, niece of late prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The campaigning for the first phase will end on Saturday.
The first phase on November 12 will see 18 seats of eight Naxal-affected districts go to polls. Of these, 12 are Scheduled Tribe seats while one is a Scheduled Caste-reserved seat.
The ruling BJP had lost 12 of the 18 seats in the 2013 Assembly polls.
The remaining 72 constituencies will witness polling on November 20 and counting of votes will be held on December 11.
A total of 1,291 candidates are in the fray for the two-phased state polls. In the 2013 Assembly polls, the BJP had won 49 seats, Congress 39, BSP 1 and Independent 1 in the 90-member House.