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Mahajan hospitalisation leaves Katiyar without campaigners

Written by: Staff

Rae Bareli, UP, May 2 (UNI) The BJP is suffering from a shortage of campaigners for the May 8 Rae Bareli byelection due to the absence of party general secretary Pramod Mahajan, who is battling for life in a Mumbai hospital.

Mr Mahajan had accompanied Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Vinay Katiyar when he filed his nomination for the bypoll.

Last time, Mr Katiyar's campaign was hit during the 2004 general elections when his wife died at Kanpur.

He was forced to leave the campaign trail midway.

He had unsuccessfully contested the LS polls from Lakhimpur Kheri. Earlier this year, he was nominated to the Rajya Sabha from UP quota.

With most BJP leaders busy with the Mahajan tragedy, Mr Katiyar is facing a shortage of star campaigners to seek people's vote for the bypolls.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi will address at least five public meetings in the constituency tomorrow and the day after as her MP son Rahul Gandhi on a full-time basis carries out electioneering on her behalf. Mr Gandhi had been addressing a series of 'nukkad' meetings in the area since April 25.

Samajwadi Party supremo and Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav has deployed a battery of party leaders to campaign for candidate Rajkumar Chaudhury. Mr Singh today addressed a public meeting here, while his son and Kannauj MP Akhilesh is undertaking a series of 'Cycle Yatras' in favour of Mr Chaudhury. Cycle is the SP party symbol.

Expelled BJP leader and former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Uma Bharti, who recently floated Bharatiya Janshakti Party, has backed Ms Prabha Singh Lodh on an Apna Dal ticket. Ms Bharti, who had addressed a public rally after Ms Lodh's nomination, would return for the next round of electioneering on May 5.

Mr Katiyar, on the other hand, has managed former union minister Sushma Swaraj, to campaign for him. Most BJP top brass are busy with the 'Bharat Suraksha Yatra' and Mahajan's well being.

''Mr L K Advani would campaign for Mr Katiyar on May 6 when his Yatra reaches Lucknow,'' a BJP leader said here.

May 6 is the last date of campaigning for the bypoll necessitated after Ms Gandhi resigned from the LS seat on March 23 following the office of profit controversy.


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