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Home > News > PTI

Vinay Katiyar ploughing lonely furrow

Subashish Mittra in Rae Bareli | May 06, 2006 11:45 IST

Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vinay Katiyar is ploughing a lonely furrow in Rae Bareli Lok Sabha constituency.

It has been a herculean task for the former Bajrang Dal chief who reluctantly entered the fray against Congress president Sonia Gandhi for the May 8 bypoll to take on her virtually single-handedly.

Katiyar, who came into prominence during BJP's Ayodhya movement, has been virtually left to fend for himself in the absence of tall party leaders to garner votes for him.

Top party leaders have been preoccupied with two simultaneous Bharat Suraksha Yatras -- one led by party president Rajnath Singh and another by Leader of the Opposition Lal Kishenchand Advani.

The tragedy of Pramod Mahajan made matters worse for him as almost everybody who is anybody in BJP made a beeline to Mumbai first to inquire about the BJP general secretary's health and later to pay their last respects to him.

The death of Mahajan came at a time when just a day or two was left for the campaigning to end.

Initially, Katiyar was not ready to cross swords with Sonia, but after an assurance from the BJP leadership that senior leaders would campaign for him, he agreed to file the nomination papers.

Katiyar then filed his documents amidst much fanfare in the presence of Mahajan and party vice president Kalyan Singh.

It had been planned that Mahajan would campaign for Katiyar for two-three days to make the contest serious.

But fate willed otherwise and Kalyan Singh too fell ill and had to be hospitalised.

The BJP's cause was championed by Sushma Swaraj and Kalraj Mishra who made brief visits to the constituency.

Party president Rajnath Singh too was in Rae Bareli for a short period.

To make matters worse, Katiyar is facing a difficult situation created by expelled BJP leader and Bharatiya
Janshakti Party president Uma Bharti who is backing Apna Dal candidate Prabha Singh Lodhi to the hilt.

Still, Katiyar told PTI that he has been holding nearly two dozen election meetings daily and claimed the "fight is good".

He has been raising the issue of lack of development in the area and ridiculed Congress for organising dance shows at election meetings.

After Sonia's son and poll manager Rahul, it is perhaps Uma who has spent maximum time in the Rae Bareli constituency seeking voters' support for the Apna Dal candidate.

Congress had predicted that Katiyar was preparing to face a "historic defeat" and described him as the "sacrificial lamb" of the BJP.

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