Bangalore: The ruling BJP will launch its campaign for the May 5 Assembly elections in Karnataka from Monday with indications that party leaders LK Advani and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi will stay away from the event.
The two leaders' absence seems to have taken some sheen off the rally, which would be addressed by party President Rajnath Singh, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her counterpart in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley.
Modi kept away from BJP's Central Election Committee that met last Friday when the first batch of 140 candidates for the Karnataka polls was decided, with party leaders maintaining that he had prior engagements and hence could not make it.
There is intense speculation over whether the Gujarat Chief Minister, being projected by a section of the BJP as a presumptive prime ministerial candidate of the party for the next Lok Sabha elections, would campaign in Karnataka poll but party leaders insist that he would address public meetings for sure. His poll programme is yet to be finalized.
The question is also being asked if Modi's campaign programme would be full-fledged or it would be limited to a "minimum" in the background of the ruling BJP being saddled with anti-incumbency factor and desertion of some 30 MLAs and corruption charges against a few ministers during its tenure.
Advani's absence on Monday has also not gone unnoticed. Only last month, the BJP veteran had criticised "wavering and unprincipled handling" of the state during the tenure of BS Yeddyurappa as Chief Minister.


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