BJP to hit UP campaign trail in early November

th-13-modi-_up_-po_3042356fAfter Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Lucknow for Vijayadashami on Tuesday, the BJP is planning road shows and yatras across Uttar Pradesh in the run-up to the Assembly elections.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, a Rajya Sabha member from the State, will address a few public meetings in the State, in an indication that the recent surgical strikes along the Line of Control will be part of the party’s campaign. BJP president Amit Shah will travel to Lucknow on Friday to finalise the itinerary for four yatras, to be led by him, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and accompanied by Minister for Medium and Small-Scale Enterprises Kalraj Mishra.

“All four yatras will end in Lucknow, criss-crossing the State, starting from Saharanpur [western U.P], Lalitpur [Bundelkhand], Sonbhadra and Ballia,” said a senior office-bearer of the party. “The tentative date for the start of the first yatra is November 5. The others will be flagged off on the successive dates. They will reach Lucknow on December 25, the former Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee’s birthday, which will be marked by a public meeting to be addressed by Mr. Modi,” he said.

The choice of Ballia, party sources say, is significant for another reason. It is the political base of Dayashankar Singh, the vice-president of the BJP Uttar Pradesh unit, who was expelled after making unseemly remarks about Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati. His wife Swati Singh has been appointed as head of the Mahila Morcha, and the party is trying to get the votes of the women and the upper castes by projecting her.

The BSP, while protesting against Mr. Singh’s remarks, made unseemly comments about his teenage daughter. This prompted Ms. Swati Singh, till then a housewife, to speak in defence of her family, winning much support among some sections.

“We accidentally got a good woman leader, the lack of which was felt in the State,” said a senior general secretary of the party. (Courtesy The Hindu)