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BJP plays Modi card in UP

Five days before the round three of polling, BJP has played the last of its cards: Chief Hindutva mascot Narendra Modi will campaign in UP.
PTI | By Hemendra Singh Bartwal, New Delhi
UPDATED ON APR 30, 2004 01:43 PM IST

Five days before the crucial Round 3 of polling, the BJP has played the last of its cards: Chief Hindutva mascot Narendra Modi will campaign in Battleground UP. He will aim for a consolidation of the Hindu vote, and simultaneously try to ignite the belly fires of Sangh Parivar cadres for a final, make-or-break bid for a bagful of seats.

The move to unleash the demagogic Gujarat chief minister comes as a logical extension of the strategy of confusing and dividing the heartland's Muslim voters — something the BJP has been working at over the past few weeks. The party appears to reckon that a split Muslim vote, combined with a united Hindu vote, will put it ahead of the SP, BSP and Congress in UP, where 48 of the 80 seats go to polls on May 5 and 10.

"To improve our nominees' prospects, it is essential to ensure good turnouts. If this has to happen, our workers have to go from door to door to persuade voters to come out. And Modi can inspire them to give all that they have," explained a senior BJP leader.

Modi is expected to campaign at 30-35 seats across the state, taking care to avoid places with large Muslim populations. At many seats, he will be accompanied by Uma Bharti, the firebrand chief minister of Madhya Pradesh. Constituencies with a strong Muslim presence will be left to Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and new entrant Arif Mohammed Khan. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his deputy L.K. Advani will stick with their campaign schedules. RSS pracharaks Sanjay Joshi and Pyarelal Khandelwal have already been tasked with overseeing the work of the cadres.

Besides UP, Modi will also campaign in the states of Rajasthan, Uttaranchal, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi, PTI reported.

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