FICCI ladies meet more important than party campaign in K'taka?
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Friday kept away from BJP's Central Election Committee that met to finalise tickets for Karnataka polls, amid rumours that he did not want to get himself involved in the campaign where the party may not fare well due to corruption charges.
While BJP Central leaders maintained that Modi, appointed to the panel on Sunday, had prior engagements and hence could not make it for the meeting, there is still no clarity whether he will turn up for the second round of the CEC meeting expected to be held on April 9.
Modi will not participate in a Vijay Sankalp Sammellan, a rally to be held in Bengaluru on April 8, to kick off BJP's election campaign in Karnataka. Modi will be in Delhi on that day to address a programme organised by FICCI ladies organisation.
Party chief Rajnath Singh, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her Rajya Sabha counterpart Arun Jaitley will be present.
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Does Modi want nothing to do with Karnataka?
Asked about Modi's absence, BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar said, "Modi will definitely campaign in Karnataka."
But there are murmurs that Modi does not want to be a part of the BJP poll campaign as the party is unlikely to fare well in the southern state. This being the first poll after Modi's elevation to the CEC and the BJP Parliamentary Board, he may not like to fight a losing battle, sources said.
The BJP government in Karnataka has had a chequered run in the last five years which saw the party change two chief ministers. Former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa has formed his own party and will further dent the BJP's prospects.
BJP declared a list of 140 candidates for Karnataka on Friday. 80 sitting MLAs of the 82 in these constituencies have been given tickets this time. The party is fielding young candidates to improve its prospects with 122 of the names declared being around 40 years of age.