Modi drafted for poll campaign in Punjab, Uttarakhand
Naqvi discounts the reports that Rajnath Singh violated the BJP constitution in forming his team, reports Shekhar Iyer.india Updated: Jan 31, 2007 20:49 IST
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who was axed from the BJP's parliamentary board in the reshuffle carried out by party chief Rajnath Singh, is among the party Chief Ministers drafted for electioneering in Punjab and Uttarakhand.
Downplaying reports that Modi was livid at his exclusion, BJP vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, who is in charge of poll arrangements, said the Gujarat Chief Minister had agreed to campaign for the party in the two states next month.
The "draft Modi" plan was announced as the BJP establishment appeared to grabble with reports about the Gujarat Chief Minister and senior BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley being very upset with Rajnath Singh for depriving them of their status as a board member and spokesperson respectively.
Known as Hindutva poster boy, Modi's induction for poll work in Punjab will not be welcomed by the BJP's partner, the Akali Dal, but BJP leaders say his campaign may be limited to Punjab towns, which are seen as the saffron strong-holds. "We will deploy Modi where he is wanted," said a party functionary.
Naqvi said he had spoken to Modi who would join other BJP Chief Ministers Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Vasundhara Raje for a high-voltage campaign in Punjab and Uttarakhand. As for Jaitley who is in-charge of Punjab, he would oversee the campaign in the state.
"Modi is happy and not livid. Some people make out a bigger story of someone being upset than what is true. We are involving all our Chief Ministers. It is not a new thing. Modi has campaigned in polls in other states earlier too."
Naqvi said the party's big guns led by former Prime Minister AB Vajpayee, Leader of Opposition LK Advani and Rajnath Singh would address several campaign meetings in Punjab and Uttarakhand next month.
Other senior BJP leaders including Murli Manohar Joshi, Venkaiah Naidu, Sushma Swaraj, Hema Malini, Vinod Khanna and Shatrughan Sinha would also join in the electioneering.
"We are also gearing up for the polls to be held in Uttar Pradesh before May. We have divided the state into six zones and geared up our machinery," Naqvi said, adding that the BJP wanted immediate President's rule in the state for a free and fair poll.
Naqvi alleged that UP was sitting on the melting pot of communal tension and nearly 36 districts were under the grip of terrorist or anti-national forces that were fanning serious trouble ahead of the polls.
Naqvi also discounted reports that Rajnath Singh violated the BJP constitution in forming his team, saying "as you all know, he was authorized by the BJP's supreme body, the national council and the national executive that met in Lucknow recently. This is in accordance with our constitution."