The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday announced that the beleaguered party president Nitin Gadkari would be one of the main campaigners in poll-bound Gujarat.
The announcement acquires significance as some leaders of the BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) have openly aired their reservations on the propriety of Mr. Gadkari continuing as the party chief till he is cleared of charges of alleged irregularities by a company owned by him.
A senior RSS activist M.G. Vaidya raised eye brows within the BJP by publicly stating that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is behind the campaign targeting Mr. Gadkari.
Mr. Modi nursed a grouse against Mr. Gadkari for re-induction of his arch-rival Sanjay Joshi into the party fold. The BJP chief purchased peace with Mr. Modi by persuading Mr. Joshi to resign from the National Executive.
BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters here that senior leaders L.K. Advani and several senior leaders of the party would fan out to 95 Assembly constituencies (which are scheduled for voting in the first phase) in Gujarat on December 1 and 2 and participate in various election rallies.
Mr. Naqvi also announced the BJP would hold an all-India protest on November 21, a day ahead of the commencement of the winter session of Parliament, against the Congress-led UPA government which, it alleged, was responsible for several scams, price rise and FDI in multi-brand retail.
Mr. Gadkari will go to Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh to lead the protest. Senior BJP leaders have been drafted to different State capitals to lead the protests.
Asked about Mr. Gadkari’s decision to choose Itanagar, Mr. Naqvi said, “Mr. Gadkari had earlier expressed his wish to hold a rally there. The BJP has always felt a sense of responsibility towards north-east India. Rajnath Singh and M. Venkaiah Naidu have held rallies there in the past.”