Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi will not campaign for Assembly elections in Bihar and neither will Varun Gandhi — the two Hindutva mascots that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar wanted to keep out of electioneering to protect his minority-friendly image. The BJP has not included their names in the list of campaigners that has been drawn up and submitted to the Election Commission.
The list, submitted by the party at the Election Commission, includes 40 prominent BJP leaders like LK Advani, Nitin Gadkari, M M Joshi, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Ananth Kumar.
JD(U), which has been trying to woo Muslims, some 16% of the electorate in Bihar, had made it clear to the BJP leadership that it would like the two leaders to stay away from the state during the elections as their presence would come in the ruling alliance’s way of securing the backing of Muslims, or at least a section of them.
For the Muslim community in Bihar, as in other parts of the country, Mr Modi and Mr Varun Gandhi remain unwelcome. Mr Modi is blamed for the post-Godhra riots in Gujarat. Mr Varun Gandhi has earned their wrath for his vitriolic comments made against the community while campaigning in his constituency before the 2009 general election.