NEW DELHI: It’s final -- Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi will not campaign in Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. The fifth phase of the seven-phase state elections is scheduled to be held on Thrusday. It
was speculated that Modi would devote sometime to the state after he was busy with the ‘Sadbhavna Mission’ fasts across the state, which ended on February 12. The BJP, in a statement last week, had asserted that Modi’s campaign dates were being finalised and that he would indeed campaign in the state. Earlier, state BJP president and a Modi confidant R C Faldu told the Express that the Chief Minister would campaign in Uttar Pradesh after the fasts in the state.
A couple of days ago, however, Modi indicated to Balbir Punj, who is the ‘prabhari’ (in-charge of the state), who was touring the state, that he would not be able to devote time to the UP campaign. Punj is learnt to have conveyed Modi’s message to the party leadership.
Earlier, Modi had also skipped campaigning in Punjab and Uttarakhand. The Gujarat Chief Minister, whose popularity among party candidates in the poll-bound states is no secret, is reportedly cross with the party leadership over the re-induction of his bête noire Sanjay Joshi into the party, who has been given a prominent role in the management of the UP elections.
BJP president Nitin Gadkari has called Modi ‘one of five-six prime ministerial candidates in the party’. To a pointed question, a couple of days ago, on whether Modi’s staying away from UP was an act of defiance, Gadkari said “Modi was busy with certain urgent tasks in his home state.”