BJP to kick off poll campaign Feb 10 with public rally

February 28th, 2008 - 8:09 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Jan 11 (IANS) Getting into election mode in a major way, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Friday announced it would kick off its poll campaign with a public rally in Rampur in Uttar Pradesh Feb 10, to be jointly addressed by party president Rajnath Singh and the party’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani. Party vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told IANS from Bijnore, Uttar Pradesh, “Rajnath and Advani will address a joint rally in Rampur. That will only begin a series of such joint rallies by the two leaders, just like you used to see once Atal (Bihari Vajpayee)-Advani joint rallies.”

“We are expecting elections any time before the end of this year,” he said.

“Yes, we are already in election mode and have planned yatras and rallies as part of the party’s election campaign programme,” he told IANS.

In fact, the party’s two-day ‘Kisan Yatra’, ostensibly to draw people’s attention to the plight of Maharashtra farmers, concluded in the state’s Vidarbha region Friday.

Early next month, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is launching its 99-day ‘Ganga yatra’ or Save Ganga campaign in Uttar Pradesh. This is apparently aimed at exposing “rampant corruption” responsible for “unabated pollution” of the country’s most sacred river, the party said.

These seemingly non-political yatras by BJP and the Sangh are in effect part of the build up for the BJP’s early election campaign, Naqvi said.

On Jan 8, senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj urged the party to “get into election mode without any further delay”.

The party has yet to deliberate and adopt a report prepared by the Sushma Swaraj committee on early election campaign.

That decision will be taken on Jan 15.

But the party decided not to wait for a formal response or elaborate planning and got into election mode.

Earlier, party spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad said that “insecurity of the people due to rise of terrorism and the UPA government’s reluctance to tackle it, farmers’ suicides, and rising inflation will be our three main issues.”

He indicated that party leaders would spread out to various parts of the country and start campaigns individually and collectively on the issues.

Rajnath’s Vidarbha Kisan yatra was part of this campaign.

As for the Ganga yatra of the RSS, a party insider explained, “Though the RSS does not want to directly start a political campaign, it is concerned about the reducing influence of Hindutva forces in Uttar Pradesh and will do its every bit to revive these forces in the biggest state of India”.

But it is not inviting too many leaders for its Save Ganga campaign. Naqvi confirmed the Sangh invitation to Advani but was not certain if any other BJP leader was likely to be invited for the programme.

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