|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Vajpayee to campaign for NDA in Bihar
Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna | October 20, 2005 19:36 IST
Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will campaign for the National Democratic Alliance in the Bihar assembly polls to woo Muslim voters.
Vajpayee will campaign in Purnea district, which has a sizeable Muslim population."We have fixed Vajpayee's election rally for the second phase of the polls. He would be coming on October 22 to address an election meeting in Purnea " a Bharatiya Janata Party leader said.
The NDA has selected Purnea for Vajpayee's election rally with a calculated move to woo Muslims, who play a decisive role in polls in the district and the neighbouring districts of Araria, Kishanganj and Katihar. There are over a dozen assembly constituencies in these districts where Muslim support influences the poll outcome.
A senior BJP leader admitted that Vajpayee, with his moderate face and wider acceptability among Muslims unlike BJP president Lal Kishenchand Advani, may help the NDA in polls after his campaigning.
However, BJP state general secretary Harendra Pratap said Vajpayee's election meeting in Purnea has nothing to do with the Muslim factor.
BJP ally Janata Dal-United leaders said Advani was not Vajpayee as far as his image and acceptability among people is concerned. "Advani remains a hardliner. Despite his statement on Pakistan founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah as secular, he is no match of Vajpayee's liberal face," a JD-U leader said.
It was Vajpayee, who created a storm by his one-line famous speech in Bhagalpur during the last assembly polls in February where he said, "Kahan hain mera bhai Kislay?" (Where is my brother Kislay?), an abducted schoolboy. It worked like a missile against the then ruling Rashtriya Janata Dal as the NDA turned the Kislay abduction into a major poll plank.
Even in the last two polls, the assembly as well as last year parliamentary polls, the NDA played the Vajpayee card to take on Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal. Vajpayee was projected as a most able leader, a saviour of the nation and state.
Vajpayee did not campaign for the NDA during the first phase of polls that concluded Tuesday due to ill health.
With the first of the four phases polls -- the second in eight months -- already over, the NDA has put out Advani, who had also campaigned during the first phase, and other BJP leaders including Sushma Swaraj, Rajnath Singh, cricketer-turned-BJP member of Parliament Navjot Singh Siddhu to woo voters.
The Congress-RJD-led Social Democratic Front is also not lagging behind to rope in crowd pullers. But Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who is also chairperson of the United Progreassive Alliance will not campaign in the second phase and is likely to address an election rally in third phase of the polls. She had addressed three election rallies during the first phase, including a joint rally with Lalu Yadav and NCP president Sharad Pawar.