In a major offensive, the Bharatiya Janata Party is to flood Gujarat with its leaders, who will fan out to various parts of the state and address a total of 32 meetings on Saturday.
The leaders will kick-start the party's campaign in all the districts of Gujarat.
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee will also do his bit to improve his party's fortunes but will join the campaign much later. According to the party's press release, he will address election meetings on December 5 and 7.
He appears to have pointedly avoided campaigning in the state on December 6, the anniversary of the demolition of the Babri masjid in Ayodhya.
Meanwhile, 22 of his party colleagues, including Deputy Prime Minister Lal Kishenchand Advani, will on Saturday descend on Gujarat and begin campaigning in specific areas.
"For us, the stakes are very high this time," said Amitabh Sinha, chief of the party's media cell in Delhi, while revealing the plans to 'carpet-bomb' the state with its leaders.
Advani's first meeting is scheduled (at 1500 IST) in Bhuj, where he will set the tone of his party's propaganda.
In the evening, he will address a meeting at Rajkot, the constituency Chief Minister Narendra Modi deserted in favour of Maninagar (in Ahmedabad city).
Three news channels have plans to telecast live Advani's speech.
Chief Minister Narendra Modi will shuttle between the highly sensitive Godhra and capital Gandhinagar while his predecessor Keshubhai Patel will concentrate on Bhotad and Vamipur.
Party president M Venkaiah Naidu will campaign in Vadodara, where the Congress enjoys substantial support, and in Anand later in the evening.
Union Human Resource Development Minister Murli Manohar Joshi will go to Ankleshwar, Bharuch and Surat, where people are upset over the closing of two co-operative banks.
Popular orator Pramod Mahajan will campaign in the Saurashtra region addressing meetings in Dhoraji, Dwarka and Jamnagar while his cabinet colleague Sushma Swaraj will concentrate on Patan and Ahmedabad.
General secretary in charge of Gujarat Arun Jaitley will head for Himmat Nagar while fiery orator Uma Bharti will travel to the trading city of Jetpur and the pilgrimage city of Junagadh.
Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Rajnath Singh will campaign in Kheda and Godhra, former Delhi chief minister Sahib Singh Verma in in Bayad, Modasa, Bhiloda and Idar, and Jharkhand Chief Minister Babulal Marandi has been assigned to cover Faladara and Motishambadi.
Union ministers Shatrughan Sinha and Vinod Khanna would join the campaign next week and the BJP is also expected to rope in actresses like Hema Malini and Vijay Shanti (a popular Telugu actress) to woo the voters.
"Although the BJP's main plank would be the development of Gujarat, the party would give a befitting reply if the Congress raked up the issue of communalism or attacked Modi," BJP spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said in a press release.
With inputs by Shahid K Abbas from New Delhi
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