The BJP on Thursday included Sultanpur MP Varun Gandhi and BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi in the party’s list of star campaigners for the third and fourth phases of polling in Uttar Pradesh.
Gandhi, a two-time young MP, has been out of favour with the party leadership, but his influence in seats going to poll in subsequent phases forced the party to bring him back for campaigning.
Hardline leader Vinay Katiyar, too, is back as star campaigner but senior leader LK Advani remains missing.
The saffron party ignored both Gandhi and Joshi in its list of campaigners for the first two phases in the politically crucial state.
While Joshi has been marginalised in the party, other backward leaders have received prominence Katiyar under the present leadership. Joshi and Katiyar were prominent faces of the movement for the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya, an issue which figured in the party’s poll manifesto released in Lucknow.
The BJP has tried to give a Hindutva overtone to its campaign, also promising to redress the problems of Hindu families who have migrated out of certain districts in western UP.
“We have included certain names from the area, which will go to poll in third and fourth phases. Leaders from western UP who were in the first list were dropped,” a BJP general secretary said.
Uttar Pradesh will see seven-phased elections between February 11 and March 8. The third phase will be held on February 19 and the fourth on February 27.