Notwithstanding the clamour for his campaigning in Karnataka, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi did not attend the BJP’s central election committee that finalised the first list of 140 names.
Significantly, Friday’s meeting of the panel was the first since it was reconstituted by BJP chief Rajnath Singh, inducting Modi as a parliamentary board member.
Modi will also not turn up at the April 8 launch of the BJP’s campaign in Karnataka, which is to be flagged off by central leaders LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitely.
There is no indication whether Modi will turn up for the second meeting of the party’s central poll panel on April 9.
BJP leaders have had doubts about Modi’s eagerness to entry the fray since the BJP is not expected to fare well as it is bogged down by anti-incumbency factors plaguing the five-year-rule of the first saffron government in the south.
BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar, who is spearheading the party’s drive to get even with his bitter rival, former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa, admitted that Modi would not participate in the Vijay Sankalp Sammellan, a rally to be held in Bangalore on April 8.
Modi will be in Delhi on that day to address a programme organised by Ficci ladies organisation.
Asked about Modi’s absence, Kumar said, “Modi will definitely campaign in Karnataka.”
Central BJP leaders okayed Kumar’s plan to foil Yeddyurappa’s plan to encourage rebels by giving ticket to 80 of 82 sitting ministers and MLAs from constituencies where there are no multiple claimants for the ticket.
“The party is fielding young candidates to improve its prospects with 122 of the names declared being around 40 years of age,” said Kumar.