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Gujarat will cast a spell in HP

Himachal is not a communally sensitive state and Hindutva card has never been effective as a poll plank. But BJP expects voters to be influenced by Gujarat and issues like terror and internal security.

india Updated: Feb 20, 2003 12:23 IST

Narendra Modi's success has spurred the BJP to replicate the organisational strategy of Gujarat in the state, party sources said.

Himachal is not a communally sensitive state and the Hindutva card has never been very effective as a poll plank. But the BJP is expecting the voters to be influenced by the Gujarat results and issues like terrorism and internal security.

The key question before the BJP is whether it can succeed in using these issues to counter the anti-incumbency factor.

Modi has become important for the Himalayan state not only because his victory is a morale booster for faction-ridden BJP in the state but for his earlier stint as BJP functionary for the state.

Modi is certain to undertake election campaign in the state, along with other leaders. However, officially he has not been included in thel list of prominent BJP campaigners.

Modi was in charge of Himachal Pradesh before he was sent to Gujarat as Chief Minister. That period saw Modi closely working with Chief Minister PK Dhumal and undertaking several tours of the state's interior areas for BJP's organisation work.

BJP chief Venkaiah Naidu said the main lesson of Gujarat polls was that the BJP could succeed and face the opposition when it was united. A truce worked out between Modi and his predecessor, Keshubhai Patel, lasted till the end, bringing huge dividend for the party.

"What many people do not know is that we set up a kind of special task force at every level, which had clear objectives," Naidu said.

Naidu said several BJP leaders from outside Himachal Pradesh would be involved in the "Operation Himachal."

First Published: Feb 13, 2003 14:34 IST