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Naidu lays ground for PM's Lucknow visit
Tara Shankar Sahay in New Delhi | May 17, 2003 20:28 IST
Bharatiya Janata Party chief M Venkaiah Naidu's weekend visit to Uttar Pradesh was to prepare the ground for Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's visit to his parliamentary constituency, Lucknow, on Tuesday.
"The prime minister is going to Lucknow to interact with the electorate and meet some people. Our party chief went (on Friday) to hold meetings with our activists and leaders both at the district and state levels," BJP general secretary Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told rediff.com
Naqvi said there would be a few yatras and a massive rally in Rampur on May 28 to project the 'secular' image of the party.
According to a BJP Lok Sabha member, "Our party is in dire strait in Uttar Pradesh. For one, it is chief minister Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party that is calling the shots, and we are idle spectators. Second, some of the central government's policies have left us red-faced."
He said this, coupled with the partial resurgence of former BJP leader and Rashtriya Kranti Party chief Kalyan Singh, could be the reason for the visits of Vajpayee and Naidu.
Reports in the media indicate some BJP leaders in UP favour Kalyan Singh's return to the party to arrest the BJP's declining popularity.
One problem that the BJP has is the inadequate prices of sugarcane. Chief Minister Mayawati is unconcerned about the plight of the farmers because her supporters are landless dalits. Small and big farmers favour the BJP, the Samajwadi Party and to some extent, the Congress.
The middle-class in UP is also angry at the central government's telecommunication policies.
The MP said party leaders have warned Vajpayee that the BJP needs to get its act together before the general election next year.
The party has already decided that it would fight the elections jointly with the BSP. However, party sources said Kalyan Singh's resurgence is worrying, especially since he has said he would not rejoin the BJP.
The RKP chief has indicated that he would 'help' the Samajwadi Party.
He has proved he has substantial clout among his Lodh Rajput community, which can swing the balance in the polls.
More reports from Uttar Pradesh
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