As former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is unlikely to contest the elections, Mr Advani will be controlling the election campaign in UP too, where 80 seats would be at stake. Mr Advani's endeavour to address a rally here would serve twin purpose-to underline the importance of Uttar Pradesh being the largest state and also to test waters viz-a-viz people's response towards the party, the top BJP sources said.
Sources also did not rule out the consideration of Advani's candidature from Kanpur parliamentary seat besides his traditional seat of Gandhinagar in Gujarat. ''The outcome of the rally would decide th BJP's future course of action ahead of Lok Sabha polls,'' they said indicating more such rallies were likley to take place in the state before the announcement of the LS polls.
Incidentally, it would be the first rally of Advani in UP in recent years as the earlier one scheduled in Rampur was cancelled due to security reasons.
BJP is likely to announce the names of the candidates for about 200 Lok Sabha seats by the end of July and there is a possibility of several senior leaders of the state finding their names in the list.
Dr Murli Manohar Joshi from Varanasi, Rajnath Singh from Ghaziabad, Kalraj Mishra or Lalji Tandon from Lucknow, Om Prakash Singh from Mirzapur, Kesrinath Tripathi from Allahabad and Vinay Katiyar from Faizabad could be the possible candidates of the party, sources in the party said.
The BJP rally at the Phoolbagh ground in the heart of Kanpur city, however, would witness the absence of several senior leaders of the party representing the state like Kalyan Singh, Rajnath Singh, Kalraj Mishra and Murli Manohar Joshi.
State BJP president Rampati Ram Tripathi told the sources here that it was a regional rally hence several national leaders were not attending the show.
Mr Tripathi along with BJP vice-president Vinay Katiyar, former state president Keshri Nath Tripathi, leader of the BJP legislature party Omprakash Singh and former leader of the opposition in the assembly Lalji Tandon would participate in the rally.
BJP workers and supporters of six districts adjoining Kanpur would participate in the rally, Mr Tripathi said.
The controversy broke out just days before the rally when posters of Atal Bihari Vajpayee were not seen along with Mr Advani but now it has been rectified and the photos of Mr Vajpayee had been included in the posters. Now several hoardings and cutouts of Atal along with Advani were also seen at several places in the city and at the rally ground.