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HindustanTimes Mon,20 Oct 2014

Can Modi improve BJP’s fortunes in other states?

Shekhar Iyer, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 25, 2012
First Published: 23:41 IST(25/12/2012) | Last Updated: 23:43 IST(25/12/2012)

There is a new-found enthusiasm among BJP leaders in Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh after Narendra Modi’s hat-trick in Gujarat.

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The clamour now is not just for Modi to be fielded as BJP’s PM candidate, but for him to salvage the party’s electoral fortunes in other states.

In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP is still struggling to recover from drubbing it got after the assembly polls early this year.

Now, hoardings of Modi have come up in Lucknow and local leaders say they want him to contest the Lok Sabha polls from there.

On Monday, BJP MP from Lucknow Lalji Tandon had said he would be “more than happy” if Modi contests the Lok Sabha election from Lucknow, which was earlier held by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. 

In Karnataka, where the BJP is reeling under raids on homes of its party chief and deputy chief minister KS Eshwarappa by the Lokayukta investigating alleged disproportionate assets, party leaders want Modi to campaign in the state and dent chances of rebel leader BS Yeddyurappa's new found, Karnataka Janata Party (KJP), in the assembly polls early next year.

State BJP leaders are confident that if Modi were to campaign for the state polls, expected to take place in March 2013, Yeddyurappa will have a tough time.

Soon after Gujarat state election results, Karnataka chief minister Jagdish Shettar had declared that the BJP cadre across the country, especially in the states like Karnataka which are going to polls shortly, were enthused by the party's victory in Gujarat.

Countering him, Yeddyurappa, who enjoys a good rapport with the Gujarat chief minister, has said that Modi victory in Gujarat was an individual one and not BJP's.

“If it was to be assumed as BJP’s triumph, the party should have succeeded in Himachal Pradesh too. Eshwarappa and D V Sadananda Gowda claim that the Gujarat situation prevails in Karnataka too. In that case, let them answer who is Modi of Karnataka...”

And those close the former Karnataka CM said, “What will Modi come here to say to defend what the BJP has done here? The BJP is in the mud here and Modi’s campaign won’t help.”

Dismissing fears that he could be beaten by the BJP, Yeddyurappa had said his fledgling party will contest in all the 224 assembly constituencies and win in a large number of seats.

BJP leaders expect Modi to go on a yatra – similar to the Vivekananda Yuva Vikas Yatra  he undertook in Gujarat this time – across the country or attend party programmes in a big way, to bolster the party's mood.


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