BJP ropes in leaders from UP, Bihar to campaign for Marathi candidates

Oct 07, 2014, 06:30 IST | Shashank Rao

In areas that have a sizeable population of north Indians but have Marathi candidates, the party has enlisted the likes of minister Kalraj Mishra and Bhojpuri actor Manoj Tiwari to garner support

The Bharatiya Janata Party is pulling out all the stops in its attempt to claim victory over the state of Maharashtra in the upcoming state assembly elections.

Union Minister Kalraj Mishra Cricketer and Bihar MP Kirti Azad MP Manoj Tiwari
Union Minister Kalraj Mishra (above), cricketer and Bihar MP Kirti Azad (centre), and actor and MP Manoj Tiwari will appear in election rallies to garner support for BJP’s Marathi candidates. File pics

In order to cater to the north Indian population in the city, they are getting well-known faces from UP and Bihar to campaign for their candidates in the city especially in constituencies that have Marathi-speaking candidates.

There are several pockets in Mumbai, like Kandivli, Magathane, Sakinaka, Bhandup, Kalbadevi, Chincholi Bunder and Kurla, where the north Indian community has a sizeable number.

Leaders such as Union Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha from Ghazipur in UP, Kalraj Mishra, Union MSME minister from UP, Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptullah, Kirti Azad, an MP from Bihar, and Bhojpuri actor Manoj Tiwari, who is also an MP from North East Delhi, are either in Mumbai or scheduled to arrive soon for election rallies.

Close to home
The party may have fielded Marathi-speaking candidates in constituencies that also have a considerable population of north Indians. For instance, opposition parties like the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), and Congress have fielded north Indian candidates in Kandivli, where the BJP and erstwhile ally Shiv Sena has a Marathi candidate.

In such cases, these leaders may help connect with the voters many of them are slated to appear in rallies in Kandivli. Sources in BJP said that Mishra had a public event at Poisar in Kandivli constituency yesterday. Sinha, too, has made a public appearance post the ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign launch in the city.

BJP leaders claim there are nearly 50 lakh north Indians in Mumbai; these people are unhappy over statements from other parties that portray their living conditions in the city as despicable. However, when asked about so many leaders from UP and Bihar coming to the city, a BJP leader stated, “We are not targeting people based on whether they are Maharashtrians, or north Indians, or south Indians, or from any other community.

Each of these high-profile faces of our party has been given locations where they will attend rallies and give speeches on developmental issues”. Interestingly, the party has created a north India unit, with branches in 26 locations in the city. Over the last few days, more than 150 office bearers of BJP from UP and Bihar, along with hundreds of their supporters, have come to Mumbai by trains.

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