Allies, chief ministers line up for NDA rally

May 10th, 2009 - 3:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Ludhiana, May 10 (IANS) If the BJP-led NDA rally in this industrial city of Punjab was meant to be a show of strength — it succeeded amply in doing so.
Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani, party chief Rajnath Singh and senior BJP leaders were present in strength.

Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal-United leader Nitish Kumar was the star attraction at the rally after attempts by other political parties, including the Congress, to woo him for a possible post-May 16 alliance for government formation at the centre.

JD-U president Sharad Yadav was also present. Both Kumar and Yadav were given seats next to Advani and Rajnath Singh.

Kumar warmly greeted Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on the dais and both clasped each other’s hand and raised it in greeting to the crowds.

Nitish Kumar had recently said that his party would not accept Modi for prime ministership.

The election rally here was being seen as a show of strength by the BJP to show that its allies in the NDA are intact in the run up to the fifth and last phase of the 2009 general elections to be held Wednesday.

Rashtriya Lok Dal president Ajit Singh, Asom Gana Parishad President Chandra Mohan Patowary, former Haryana chief minister and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) president Om Prakash Chautala and Shiv Sena leader and former Maharashtra chief minister Manohar Joshi were also present.

The arrival of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) chief K. Chandrashekhar Rao at the rally gave a boost to the NDA leadership. The TRS, which was earlier with the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), had joined the Left-led Third Front floated recently.

BJP-ruled state chief ministers Narendra Modi (Gujarat), B.S. Yeddyurappa (Karnataka), Shivraj Singh Chauhan (Madhya Pradesh), Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh), Prem Kumar Dhumal (Himachal Pradesh) and B.C. Khanduri (Uttarakhand) also arrived for the rally.

The rally is being co-hosted by BJP’s alliance partner in the state, the Akali Dal.

The NDA rally was in favour of the Akali Dal candidate from here, G.S. Galib. Incidentally, Galib had been a Congressman for nearly five decades before shifting to the ruling Akali Dal.

Nitish Kumar’s coming here could also influence the scores of migrant voters from Bihar who are settled in this city for the Akali-BJP candidate.

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