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Star campaigners head for Assam assembly polls

Last updated on: March 22, 2011 12:03 IST

Dr Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi to campaign for Congress

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Major parties have lined up a long list of star campaigners to woo voters in Assam where assembly polls are scheduled for April 4 and 11. The ruling Congress, bidding for return to power for a third consecutive term, has a long list of prominent persons, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi, to campaign for the party.

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Image: United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi
Photographs: Ajay Verma/Reuters
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No bollywood stars for Congress

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There are others such as Youth Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, Union ministers Pranab Mukherjee, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ambika Soni, Sachin Pilot and Subodh Kant Sahay," said party spokesman Bichitra Choduhury. The party has also lined up several leaders from the north-east, including Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Dorjee Khandu, Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, Mizoram Chief Minister Lalthanhawla, former chief ministers Mukut Mithi of Arunachal Pradesh and S C Jamir of Nagaland.

Assam's Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi recently said the party would not bring any Bollywood star to campaign for his party, but will solely depend upon its leaders and grass-root workers.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, not to be left behind, has already launched an aggressive campaign in the state though its national leaders are yet to make their presence felt.

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Image: Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi who's trying to revive the Youth Congress
Photographs: STR/AFP/Getty Images
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BJP to roll out its star campaigners

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The party has also lined up big leaders such as former deputy prime minister L K Advani, party president Nitin Gadkari, former presidents Rajnath Singh and M Venkaiah Naidu, its leaders in Parliament Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley, younger leaders like Varun Gandhi, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Vasundhara Raje Scindia and Ananth Kumar.

State unit president Ranjit Dutta said the party would also bring successful chief ministers of BJP-ruled states, including Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, to campaign for the party in the state.

"Politicians apart, Bollywood stars Hema Malini and Shatrughan Sinha, along with television stars Smriti Irani and cricketer Navjot Singh Siddhu are to take part in the campaign," Dutta said.

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Image: Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Sushma Swaraj, LK Advani and Nitin Gadkari
Photographs: Raj Patidar/Reuters
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Local heroes for AGP, major players for CPI-M

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The other two main parties with a predominant role in the forthcoming polls -- the Asom Gana Parishad and Asom United Democratic Front -- however, have no national leader to campaign for them. The AGP is depending on their local leaders, including president Chandra Mohan Patowary, former president and two-time chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, former president Brindabon Goswami and several other former state ministers.

The Left parties in the state, though having a limited presence of only three seats in the current assembly, have an impressive list of campaigners with all top leaders, including Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary Prakash Karat, scheduled to address rallies in the state.

Politburo members Sitaram Yechury, Brinda Karat, Biman Bose, Mohammed Amin, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and central secretariat members Nilotpal Basu, Rama Das, Bajuban Riyan, Uddhab Barman, Hemen Das and Noorul Huda are also expected to address the masses during the run-up to the polls.

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Image: Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary Prakash Karat

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NCP to roll out its top guns

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The Nationalist Congress Party, which had won only one seat in the outgoing assembly, also has several national-level leaders scheduled to visit the state and they include Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, former Lok Sabha speaker P A Sangma and Union ministers Praful Patel and Agatha Sangma among others.

Other leaders scheduled to campaign in the state are Samajwadi Party President Mulayum Singh Yadav, Lok Janashakti Party president Ram Vilas Paswan and Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee.


Image: Agatha Sangma, the youngest minister in the UPA government, will also campaign in Assam
Photographs: Raveendran/AFP/Getty Images
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