Will Modi & BJP chalk out a counter-fake encounter strategy?

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New Delhi, July 4: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Delhi on Thursday for the next round of talks with party leaders to outline the strategy of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls has gained more significance in the wake of the CBI chargesheet filed on the Ishrat Jahan case on Wednesday.

The CBI said in its first chargesheet that the 19-year-old college student, Ishrat, was gunned down in a fake encounter in June 2004 in a joint operation between the Gujarat police and the Intelligence Bureau.

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Observers believe that Modi's session with party functionaries on Thursday will feature the chargesheet episode and see efforts to device a counter-strategy against a possible negative impact caused by it.

The Gujarat chief minister, who is also the chief of the BJP's poll campaign committee, is also likely to meet members of the BJP Parliamentary Board, the highest decision-making body of the party to educate it about his plans.

[Read: Modi's 'Team 2014' to be finalised soon]

The Congress has been using the Ishrat Jahan case to sharpen its attack on Modi. Senior party leader Digvijay Singh said before the chargesheet was filed that the whole idea behind the case was to create a hero's image for Modi in the minds of people by projecting that Muslims are only responsible for all acts of terror and that the BJP leader was tackling them strongly.

The BJP, on the other hand, claimed that the media was provided information that the CBI had with it tapes where DG Vanzara, the DIG in jail, is heard telling top IB official Rajinder Kumar about political leaders' backing the murders. Vanzara is accused of killing Sohrabuddin and his wife Kauserbi, besides Ishrat.

The saffron party is speculating that Modi would await the central investigative agency's supplementary chargesheet by the end of July, even though neither Modi nor his aide Amit Shah, who was the then home minister of Gujarat, figured in Wednesday's chargesheet.

The episode might give Modi's pre-poll plans that extra push, feel many. Modi has already asked BJP leaders and workers to prepare a strict schedule for the next 10 months to shape public opinion against the Congress-led UPA and reach out to the grassroots level. He has also stressed importance of the social media to woo young voters in over 160 Lok Sabha constituencies.

Modi's nationwide tour is also expected to be finalised after Thursday's talks, BJP sources said. The Gujarat CM went to Mumbai to address business honchos and an upset Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray besides the state party leaders. Before that, he visited Madhopur in Punjab to address a rally on the occasion of Jan Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mookerjee's 60th death anniversary.

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