NEW DELHI: The BJP has calibrated its campaign in Haryana with caste, state loyalties and the dazzle of showbiz in mind, placing prominent Jat leaders from other parts of the country in areas dominated by their caste and using Bhojpuri stars in urban centres with sizable immigrant populations.
Heading the list of 40 star campaigners for Haryana, where the BJP hopes to return to power, are Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP working president JP Nadda, party sources said. They said that the maximum number of leaders in the list are Jats. But there are other considerations too.
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While Union minister Sanjeev Balyan, a Jat leader from Uttar Pradesh, for instance, has been asked to stay on in Haryana till the elections are over, the party has also roped in film stars like its MPs Ravi Kishan and Manoj Tiwari for urban areas with Bhojpuri speaking people from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, party insiders said.
Balyan won the Lok Sabha elections from Muzaffarnagar by defeating prominent Jat leader and RLD supremo Ajit Singh, "Balyan has been asked to focus on the caste dominated seats in the state. He has accompanied various candidates in the filing of nominations as well," a source in the party said.
Similar responsibilities have been given to Jat leaders such as Satya Pal Singh and Bhupendra Singh, the sources said, adding that the BJP doesn't want to identity itself as non-Jat party which is what the opposition is trying to do.
Bhupendra Singh, who is a minister in BJP's government in Uttar Pradesh is one of those in-charge of assembly elections in Haryana. Satya Pal Singh is the party's MP from Baghpat. The party's other MPs, Bollywood A-listers Hema Malini and Sunny Deol as well as singer Hansraj Hans, will also be used for campaigning mainly on the weaker seats, sources said.
The chief ministers of neighbouring states such as Himachal Pradesh (Jai Ram Thakur) Uttarakhand (Trivendra Singh Rawat) are also in the list of star campaigners. Elections for the 90-member Haryana assembly will be held on October 21. The votes will be counted on October 24.