New Delhi: Ameeta Chavan, wife of Maharashtra
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Varsha Patel, wife of Union
Minister Praful Patel figure among the star campaigners for
the Congress and the NCP respectively for the October 13
Assembly polls in the state.
Their names are among the 40 star campaigners submitted
by the two parties to the Election Commission with the
Congress list headed by party chief Sonia Gandhi and that of
the NCP by party supremo Sharad Pawar.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, party leader Rahul Gandhi,
Union Ministers Pranab Mukherjee and A K Antony, AICC general
secretary Digvijay Singh are prominent central leaders of the
Congress among the campaigners.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, PCC chief Manikrao Thakre,
Union Ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushilkumar Shinde are
among the state leaders tasked for the job by the Congress as
also senior Minister Narayan Rane.
The NCP campaigners include several state ministers and
party MPs including Ajit Pawar, Supriya Sule, Dilip Walse
Patil, Madhukar Pichad, Babanrao Pachpute, Sunil Tatkare.
Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal and his nephew
Samir Bhujbal are also among those who will canvass support
for the NCP as also state party chief R R Patil, Union
Minister Praful Patel and former Lok Sabha Speaker P A
The Samajwadi Party, which is part of the Third Front,
has almost all its campaigners drawn from Uttar Pradesh. They
include party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and general secretary
Amar Singh and a host of MPs and former MPs from UP, including
Mohan Singh, Jaya Bachchan and Jayaprada.
As regards the Opposition BJP-Shiv Sena combine, Atal
Bihari Vajpayee and Bal Thackeray are virtually their
non-playing captains during campaigning.
Even though they have not stirred out for canvassing
support, the former Prime Minister and the Shiv Sena supremo
have been named the top campaigners by the combine.
The posters of Vajpayee and Thackeray are now being used
across the state in the campaigning as also their names in
cassettes and CDs as they will not be personally present.
In the list of the 40 star campaigners submitted by BJP
and the Shiv Sena to the EC, the two patriarch-like figures
figure on the top.
Vajpayee is in retirement mode owing to his ill health
and the ailing Sena supremo Thackeray has virtually left the
rough and tumble to his son and working president Uddhav.
Shiv Sena`s Dasara rally, which was addressed by senior
Thackeray every year for nearly four decades, was not held
this year as the leader said he would address a victory rally
of the combine after the results are out on October 22.
Others among the BJP`s star campaigners are L K Advani,
Rajnath Singh, Murli Manohar Joshi, Arun Jaitley and Sushma
Swaraj along with former Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar,
whose "rancid pickle" remark against Advani had recently
created a flutter.
Shatrughan Sinha, who has created a stir by praising
Rahul Gandhi, is also among the 40 star campaigners.