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Uttar Pradesh (UP) Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will add firepower to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) high-decibel electioneering in poll-bound Gujarat later this week.
In Gujarat, the stakes are high for the BJP given the gradual emergence of a complex matrix of castes, quota demands, and the new-found aggressive persona of Opposition Congress' Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, who has been crisscrossing the state addressing rallies, visiting temples, and mounting scathing attacks on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
With electioneering in the ongoing UP urban local bodies polls coming to a close on Monday, Yogi, who had been vigorously campaigning in PM Modi's home state, would reach Gujarat to kick off the second leg of his campaign there.
Last month, Yogi had participated in the 'Gaurav Yatra' in Gujarat on October 12 and 13. While there, the UP chief minister addressed rallies and sought to consolidate the BJP vote bank with his strong Hindutva image, oratory skills, and persona.
Now, Yogi is scheduled for a two-phase tour of Gujarat spanning six-eight days. The state will witness polling in two phases on December 9 and 14 for the 182-member State Assembly. The counting of votes will take place on December 18.
According to BJP sources, after winding up the UP civic poll campaign, Yogi would fly off to Gujarat. In the first phase of his tour, he would campaign for three days starting November 28.
Later, Yogi would tour Gujarat for three more days from December 6. Besides, there is also a tentative schedule of him visiting the poll-bound state on December 4 and 5. He would mainly address public meetings in areas that have a sizeable population of migrant labourers from the Hindi-speaking belts of UP and Bihar.
The BJP's mascot, PM Modi, is scheduled to address eight rallies on November 27 and 29 in different parts Gujarat, including Kutch, Rajkot, Amreli, Surat, Bhavnagar, and Navsari.
Apart from Yogi, chief ministers of other BJP-ruled states, including Rajasthan, would also address public meetings in Gujarat. Other star campaigners in Gujarat include Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Arun Jaitley, and Sushma Swaraj.
Earlier, Yogi had addressed public meetings and rallies in Himachal Pradesh, where polling was held on November 9 for the 68-member Vidhan Sabha.
The UP chief minister had also taken part in BJP's public engagements in the Left stronghold of Kerala, where the saffron party has upped the ante to emerge as a force to reckon with. Yogi had not only mounted a scathing attack on the Kerala government, but his visit and jibes had prompted the state government to counter-attack him for his alleged failings in governing UP.
Yogi's participation in Gujarat's pre-poll campaign indicates his growing stature in national politics and in the eyes of BJP mandarins and strategists.