Raipur: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Friday address his first rally in Chhattisgarh ahead of first phase of Assembly Election 2018, scheduled on November 12. Adding more power to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) campaign, he will address a rally in Bastar district. Meanwhile, Congress president Rahul Gandhi will also begin his 2-day visit to the poll-bound state on Thursday.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made in Jagdalpur ahead of PM Modi’s rally around 1 PM. He is scheduled to arrive at Raipur airport at 11:20 AM Friday and then take a helicopter to Jagdalpur. Following the rally, he will leave for Raipur at 2 PM and then return to Delhi.

“This will be the PM’s first election rally for the state Assembly polls. It will add power to the party’s campaign,” a BJP spokesperson said.

On the other hand, the Congress president will address five rallies and hold a road show in Chief Minister Raman Singh’s constituency Rajnandgaon during his 2-day visit to the state. On Friday, he 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 road show in Rajnandgaon.

On Saturday, the Gandhi scion will address rallies in Charama (Kanker district) and Kondagaon, Trivedi said, adding that the Congress chief will also chair a meeting of party workers in Jagdalpur.

Raman Singh is also scheduled to hold a road show 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 Maoist-affected districts go to polls. Of these, 12 are Scheduled Tribe seats while one is a Scheduled Caste-reserved seat.

The remaining 72 constituencies will go to polls 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.

(With PTI inputs)