No decision on Modi campaigning for Maha polls

It is uncertain whether Narendra Modi would campaign for the BJP-Shiv Sena-Republican Party of India (RPI) alliance for the civic polls in Maharashtra.

Mumbai: It is yet uncertain whether Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi would campaign for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Shiv Sena-Republican Party of India (RPI) alliance for the civic polls in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra.

When asked whether Modi would campaign, state BJP chief Sudhir Mungantiwar said: "Several BJP leaders will come here and campaign." But he added that the names have not yet been finalised.

State party leaders point out that all prominent leaders around the country, especially chief ministers of the BJP-ruled states, would be required to campaign for the party in the five states going to assembly elections from this month-end.

"We shall take a final call on inviting Modi for campaigning in Maharashtra after considering all aspects and his requirement for the assembly elections in five states," a BJP leader in Mumbai said.

Incidentally, the BJP did not invite Modi to campaign in the 2009 Maharashtra assembly elections though he enjoys a good equation with all the major opposition parties.

After the seat-sharing between the BJP-Shiv Sena-RPI was declared Thursday evening, it is expected that a majority of the 227 civic wards (city constituencies) with a dominant Gujarati speaking population would fall in the BJP`s lap, as in the past.

These include wards in Borivli, Kandivli, Malad, Mulund, Ghatkopar and South Mumbai which could sway in the BJP`s favour with Modi`s mass appeal.

While the BJP is yet to decide on its `star campaigner`, ally Shiv Sena`s executive president Uddhav Thackeray announced Friday night that party chief Bal Thackeray would address at least two election rallies, in Mumbai and Thane each.

Twenty-seven major zilla parishads (district councils) will go to polls Feb 7, followed by 10 top municipal corporations Feb 16.