According to party insiders, BJP President Nitin Gadkari [ Images ] is understood to have personally urged the state's most vociferous Hindutva mascots to campaign in different parts of the state.
Responding to Gadkari's call, Gorakhpur Lok Sabha member, the saffron clad Yogi Adityanath and Maneka Gandhi's son Varun Gandhi [ Images ], the party MP from Pilibhit [ Images ] have already set out on the UP campaign. And evidently, their itinerary is quite alarming, as they have picked up the communally hypersensitive places in the very first round of their campaign.
Adityanath chose to start his campaign from Meerut, the home of the new state BJP president Laxmikant Bajpai and Varun chose Aligarh for his first rally. Among the other places in line are other communally sensitive towns of eastern UP.
It comes as a surprise that the party leadership had fallen back on the Hindu hardline strategy, even though the card had failed miserably at the assembly election, when Gadkari had relied heavily on Uma Bharti, who was once rated as the party's most vocal Hinfu fundamentalist .
Uma Bharti, who had briefly risen to the position of the Madhya Pradesh [ Images ] chief minister, was urged to shift base to UP, where she left no stone unturned to woo the masses using the Hindutva card in March 2012. The party leadership had then expressed hope that Bharti would turn BJP's political fortunes, not only because of her Hindu hardliner profile, but also because she belonged to the Lodhi backward caste, whose only prominent face Kalyan Singh [ Images ] had marched out of the party.
However, besides wining her own seat from Charkhari in Mahoba district, adjoining Madhya Pradesh, she failed to make any impact on the larger part of the state. The BJP failed so badly with its calculations that its tally came down from 51 in the 403 member UP assembly in 2007 to 47 in 2012. Besides being a big blow to Uma Bharti, the debacle was a slap also on Gadkari's face, who was largely responsible for importing her from the neighbouring state.
Even BJP insiders at that point of time felt that the strategy was not pragmatic as it sent signals about the crisis of leadership in the party. The then state chief Surya Pratap Shahi was the first to step down. He was replaced by Laxmikant Bajpai, who was still struggling to collect his bearings in a sprawling state where the party was completely down in the dumps.
One time established party leaders like former national president and former UP chief minister Rajnath Singh had stopped taking interest, while others like Lalji Tandon, Kalraj Misra , Keshri Nath Tripathi were finding it hard to cope up because of the vagaries of age. Infighting that had also already taken a huge toll continued to weaken the party.