New Delhi: Playing down reports of BJP not fielding any Muslim face or leader from Bihar for campaigning in poll-bound Gujarat, the party said all its party leaders will campaign in the state. (Agencies)
"Let me assure you that every leader from BJP who would go over to Gujarat will certainly be going over to campaign...We are certainly having most leaders campaign in Gujarat," party spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.
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.
She said the first open invitation to all BJP leaders came from Gujarat Chief minister Narendra Modi himself who had during the CM's conclave and then again at the BJP national executive meeting at Surajkund, Haryana, invited everyone to campaign.
"If there is any misgiving about it, then please remove it. We are certainly having most leaders go from here (to campaign in Gujarat)," she said.
Clarifying on the names of Muslim leaders and those from Bihar missing from the list of star campaigners, she said "there would be some classification of some kind...for use of helicopters. We can find out more about it. But every leader will go there."
The party, which has often fielded its Muslim leaders like Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Shahnawaz Hussain to speak on behalf of the party on issues involving minorities, has decided not to field them as 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 LK Advani, Nitin Gadkari, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj, besides Modi himself.
BJP is also fielding its Chief Ministers Raman Singh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Prem Kumar Dhumal, Jagdish Shettar, Manohar Parrikar and Arjun Munda as its campaigners in Gujarat polls but has decided not to field Bihar's Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi in electioneering.
The party has 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 M Venkaiah Naidu, MPs Parshottam Rupala and Balbir Punj, Gopinath Munde and party's general secretary (organisation) Ram Lal.
While actresses 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.
New Delhi: Playing down reports of BJP not fielding any Muslim face or leader from Bihar for campaigning in poll-bound Gujarat, the party said all its party leaders will campaign in the state.