Meanwhile, the BJP’s second list of candidates for UP elections has been deferred yet again.
New Delhi: Making clear that leaders like L.K. Advani, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi are not wanted anymore to win elections, the BJP has axed their names from the list of “star campaigners” for Uttar Pradesh released on Saturday. Joining these two saffron veterans are Sultanpur MP Varun Gandhi and Rajya Sabha member Vinay Katiyar. This band of four have remained marginalised since the present dispensation, led by BJP president Amit Shah, took over.
Union defence minister Manohar Parrikar will also not be seen in Uttar Pradesh rallies as he is “busy” with Goa election where the BJP seems to be in a tricky situation. Besides the BJP’s poll mascot, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the saffron
“star campaigners” to be unleashed in UP include actor-turned-politician and Mathura MP Hema Malini, textiles minister Smriti Irani, Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje, her Madhya Pradesh counterparty Shivraj Singh Chouhan, party’s Delhi unit chief and “Bhojpuri superstar” Manoj Tiwari, Union ministers Gen. (retd) V.K. Singh, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Ram Vilas Paswan, among others.
The Hindutva brigade will be represented by Union ministers Uma Bharati, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Sanjeev Baliyan and Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath, among others.
The party will also be using former BSP leaders — Swami Prasad Maurya, Narendra Kashyap and SPS Baghel — who recently joined the BJP, during the campaigning for the first two phases. Former UP CM and Rajasthan governor’s Kalyan Singh’s son and party MP Rajvir Singh, Kairana MP Hukum Singh and former Congress leader Avtar Singh Bhadana’s names also figure in the list of 40.
Meanwhile, the BJP’s second list of candidates for UP elections has been deferred yet again. The party has so far announced 149 names, mainly for the constituencies that will go to polls in the first and second phase. The party is reportedly waiting for the SP to announce its list of candidates. Also, it is yet to placate Swami Prasad Maurya, who had earlier demanded around 70 seats for his supporters.
Though Mr Maurya, once BSP supremo Mayawati’s close confidante, and his son are likely to get tickets, the BJP leadership is unwilling to adjust more than 10 seats for his supporters. Also, party’s UP ally Apna Dal is unlikely to be given more than 15 seats.
Caste arithmetic is also said to be delaying the list as BJP’s election strategists awaits SP’s list to declare all its candidates. Saffron strategists are also keeping a close watch on the developments in the Congress whose much-hyped alliance SP has so far failed to see the light of the day.