A lot of focus may be on senior BJP leader LK Advani's anti-corruption yatra that is criss-crossing the country. But the party’s fortune in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh is tied to the impact of two yatras by one-time rivals, who are undertaking a joint mission to highlight chief minister Mayawati's “misrule”.
Between them, Rajnath Singh and Kalraj Mishra have covered 185 assembly constituencies spread over 32 districts, clocking 2, 570 km in the first phase of their jan swabhiman yatra, which ended on Saturday.
Their objective is to revive support for the BJP among the upper castes in UP, namely the Brahmins, Rajputs and Banias as the OBCs predominantly back the Samajwadi Party and the Dalits support the BSP.
The BJP, which stood at the third position after the BSP and the SP, hopes to increase its tally even as the Congress under Rahul Gandhi's leadership, too, is on a same mission. UP goes to polls before May next year.
BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said these two leaders have focused on the BJP's plank of 'corruption free, crime free and prosperous Uttar Pradesh'. “The yatras led by Rajnath Singh and Kalraj Mishra, which began from Mathura and Varanasi on October 13, have brought to fore the anger of the people towards the BSP, which is running the most corrupt government in UP's history.”
Rajnath Singh, known as BJP's Rajput face, travelled through western UP (111 assembly constituencies), while the BJP's Brahmin face Kalraj Mishra covered eastern UP (74 assembly constituencies).
Singh and Mishra ended the first phase of their yatras in Gola (Lakhimpur Kheri) and Orai (Jhansi) respectively on Saturday. Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley and BJP state unit president Surya Pratap Shahi were present at Gola, and BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi was present at Orai.
The second phase will start from Bahraich and Hamirpur on November 9, and will end in Faizabad on November 17.