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BJP goes low on star quotient, looks for winners

Wary of past mistakes, the BJP seems to be sticking to its strategy of avoiding an over-hyped campaign. Shekhar Iyer reports.

india Updated: Jan 27, 2012 12:36 IST
Shekhar Iyer
Shekhar Iyer
Hindustan Times
Shekhar Iyer,New Delhi,Gujarat CM Narendra Modi

Wary of past mistakes, the BJP seems to be sticking to its strategy of avoiding an over-hyped campaign.

So far, there is no word on whether Gujarat CM Narendra Modi will campaign in Uttar Pradesh. It is almost certain that he will not visit Punjab or Uttarakhand either. Sushma Swaraj, the leader of opposition in Lok Sabha, is off sick. And the party is not worried about their absence from campaigning.

Among the top guns, only LK Advani, Arun Jaitley and Rajnath Singh have visited Uttarakhand and Punjab.

Talking of Uttar Pradesh, where 403 seats are at stake, a key strategist of the party said, "No matter who's the star campaigner, only those who have worked in their areas for the last five years are going to win."

The plan, therefore, is to focus on ‘winnable' candidates and a door-to-door campaign. "There is a mega battle in each of these constituencies. We want to forward the right man or woman," he added.

But the party is not putting all its eggs in the "delivery" basket either. It plans to play the ubiquitous caste card as well.

Claiming that Mayawati's "sarva samaj" experiment has failed to win over the Brahmins, the party has included 74 Brahmins among the 296 candidates it has named so far. There are 66 Rajputs and the rest belong to Baniya and OBC categories, with a significant representation for Kurmis (34), Kushawas (17) and Yadavs (15)..

In fact, one reason why the party may not be eager to mobilise Modi in UP is that it might mean its rivals — the Congress, SP and BSP — cashing in further on the Muslim vote.

In Uttarakhand, the BJP managers found their best bet in CM candidate BC Khanduri and his clean record. The entire campaign was tuned to the slogan "Khanduri hai zaroori".

Naming Khanduri for the top post again has lifted the morale of cadres and though they expect a tough fight, they are certain it will go in their favour.

First Published: Jan 27, 2012 00:09 IST