BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has chosen not to campaign in Muzaffarangar and Kairana, the two worst-affected districts in last year’s communal riots.
Sources said Modi is avoiding Muzaffarnagar in order to prevent a straight polarisation of Muslim voters towards parties like the Samajwadi Party (SP), BSP, Congress and Rashtriya Lok Dal. The idea is to keep the Muslim vote divided among various parties.
Muzaffarnagar and Kairana are going to the polls in the first phase on April 10. Campaigning for the first phase will end April 8.
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BJP has fielded Sanjeev Baliyan in Muzaffarnagar and Hukum Singh from Kairana. Hukum is party leader in UP Legislative Assembly and is an accused in the case of inciting riots in Muzaffarnagar.
Of the constituencies going to the polls in first phase, Modi has campaigned for party candidates in Bulandshahr, Baghpat, Amroha and Bareilly. He addressed a public meeting in Ghaziabad on Thursday.
Modi will be in Bijnor on April 6 to hold a public meeting in favour of candidates of Nagina and Bijnor. He will also campaign in Aligarh on the same day.
BJP’s western UP president Bhupendra Singh confirmed that Modi will not campiagn in Muzaffarnagar and Kairana. “Modiji has campaigned in various other constituencies of western UP. Party candidates had sought his programme for Muzaffarnagar and Kairana as well but he cannot come because of his busy schedule,” Singh said.
Party president Rajnath Singh will campaign in Muzaffarnagar on April 6.
Next day, Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi will hold a road show in Muzaffarnagar. Oberoi will also campaign in Ghaziabad same day. Modi’s close confidant and state in-charge Amit Shah, too, is not going to campaign on any of these seats. He reached Shamli Thursday and held meetings with party leaders only.
Shah will be in Muzaffarnagar Friday but will not campaign there and would hold closed-door meetings with local leaders of Gurjar community, Kshatriya and Scheduled Castes, said sources.
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had addressed a public meeting in Muzaffarnagar Monday while BSP chief Mayawati will be visiting the district Friday.