UP polls: LK Advani, Varun Gandhi missing from BJP's list of star campaigners
BJP veteran L.K. Advani and MP Varun Gandhi are noticeable absentees from the party list of 40-odd star campaigners for the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections submitted to the Election Commission on Saturday.
Senior party leaders Murli Manohar Joshi and Vinay Katiyar are also conspicuous by their absence from the list.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tops the list, which includes BJP President Amit Shah, Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Arun Jaitley, M. Venkaiah Naidu, Ram Vilas Paswan, Sanjeev Baliyan, Uma Bharti and Smriti Irani.
Bharatiya Janata Party’s firebrand leader Yogi Aditya Nath and Ram Shankar Katheria, who was dropped from the Union Cabinet in the reshuffle last year, also figure in the list.
Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi is the only Muslim face in the list which also has Chief Ministers Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Vasundhra Raje of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan respectively.
Swami Prasad Maurya and Narendra Kashyap, who joined the BJP after leaving the Bahujan Samaj Party, are also there.
Katiyar, who played a key role in the Ram Mandir movement, has not been given any key assignment by the party in the recent past.
Varun Gandhi was projected as the BJP’s chief ministerial face by his supporters but the move apparently did not go down well with the party’s central leadership. His mother and Union Minister Maneka Gandhi, however, finds a place in the list.
Some lesser known party names such as Ravikant Garg, B.L. Verma and Lokesh Prajapati too are on the list.
Uttar Pradesh will see seven-phased elections between February 11 and March 8.