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Published On:04 February 2012
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Modi-Advani leadership tussle in Uttar Pradesh elections

By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani


Ahmedabad: The showdown between Narendra Modi and Lal Krishna Advani may bring bad luck for BJP in Uttar Pradesh as Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi is keeping BJP on tenterhooks on whether he will campaign in Uttar Pradesh or not. His absence during campaigning in Punjab and Uttarakhand has turned the spotlight on Modi, who is yet to confirm his plans of going to UP.


BJP campaign managers in the state had worked out six-seven days - a day in each phase - of campaigning for Modi. A party leader said that there was no word from the chief minister till now.


The first phase of polling in UP, which covers the districts of Faizabad, Sitapur, Barabanki, Kanpur Dehat, Bahraich, Shrawasti, Balrampur, Gonda, Siddharthnagar and Basti, will be held on February 8. When asked if Modi will be joining the party's campaign in UP, BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman was non-committal. "He is listed as a star campaigner. Let us see," she said.


It can be mentioned that after reports of a rift between Mr Modi and BJP Parliamentary Party chief L.K. Advani over the latter's Janchetna Yatra, the RSS had cautioned the chief minister that he is not bigger than the organisation and reports of his rift with Mr Advani will only damage his likely chances of getting a prominent role at the national level.


Sources disclosed that with Mr Modi's bete noire and former general secretary (organisation) of the BJP Sanjay Joshi holding an important position in the UP election management committee, Mr Modi is unwilling to campaign in the state. The chief minister, sources disclosed, is also miffed with the BJP leadership for remaining non-committal over his claim for the BJP's prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 general polls.


Modi is apparently upset with Gadkari, who has given important tasks to his bete noire Sanjay Joshi in the UP elections. The chief minister had skipped the national executive meeting in the capital, which was attended by Joshi. His grouse with Joshi goes back to 1990s, when he was in charge of the party's affairs in Gujarat and Modi had to leave the state when Keshubhai Patel was chief minister.


Modi could strike an emotional chord with his oratory in UP, where the party campaign is bereft of its tallest leader and orator Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The Hindutva poster boy may be in demand in the state, but it is precisely Modi's image that has diminished his chances of being BJP's prime ministerial candidate, which has to keep concerns of allies like JD (U) in mind. This, too, is understood to be irking Modi.


Party sources said too much need not be read into his absence from Uttarakhand and Punjab, where other BJP chief ministers like Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh) and Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh) also did not campaign. Besides, Modi has been preoccupied with his sadhbavna fast on January 20 and the dates may not have worked out, they said.


But in UP, Modi's absence would be noted. While Gadkari, Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Uma Bharti and Murli Manohar Joshi are scheduled to campaign in UP for more than 15 days, senior leader LK Advani and BJP chief ministers were slated to address rallies for a day in each of the seven phases.


[Abdul Hafiz Lakhani is a senior Journalist based at Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He is associated with IndianMuslimObserver.com as Bureau Chief (Gujarat). He can be reached at lakhani63@yahoo.com or on his cell 09228746770]

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