Muslim, Bihar leaders not to campaign for BJP in Gujarat

BJP's prominent muslim faces as well as its leaders from Bihar will not campaign for the ruling party in poll-bound Gujarat.

In its list of star campaigners for Gujarat elections provided to the Election Commission, BJP has neither listed any of its prominent muslim faces nor any leader from Bihar where it shares power with ally JD-U.

The party, which has often fielded its muslim leaders like Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Shahnawaz Hussain to speak on behalf of the party on contentious issues involving minorities, has decided not to field them as party campaigners in Gujarat despite a sizeable muslim population in the state.

BJP's campaign in Gujarat, where Chief Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a fourth consecutive term, will now be in the hands of senior leaders L K Advani, Nitin Gadkari, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj, besides Modi himself.

The BJP is also fielding its Chief Ministers Raman Singh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Prem Kumar Dhumal, Jagdish Shettar, Manohar Parrikar and Arjun Munda as its star campaigners during Gujarat polls, but has decided not to field Bihar's deputy chief minister Sushil Modi in its list of campaigners.

The party has also left out its prominent leaders from Bihar to campaign in Gujarat, even though its spokespersons like Ravi Shankar Prasad and Rajiv Pratap Rudy have held fort on behalf of the party at the national level.

The lone muslim face who will be campaigning for BJP in Gujarat is Sufi Sant Mahebub Ali Baba, president of BJP's Gujarat State Laghumati Morcha.

Other leaders who will campaign for the party include former party presidents Rajnath Singh and Venkaiah Naidu, MPs Parshottam Rupala and Balbir Punj, Gopinath Munde and party's general secretary (organisation) Ram Lal.

While Hema Malini and Smriti Irani will add star value to the campaign, cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu has also been listed as a campaigners even though he is currently busy with television show "Big Boss".

State BJP leaders like Gujarat party chief R C Faldu, Vijay Rupani, Bharatsinh Parmar, Natuji Thakor, Kaushik Patel, Anandiben Patel, Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, Harin Pathak, Fakir Vaghela, Parshottam Solanki, Shankarbhai Vegad and Jayshriben Patel, President, Mahila Morcha, Gujarat alongwith Pradipsinh Vaghela, President of Yuva Morcha, will also campaign during the polls.

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