The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BJP poll role for bakery accused

Ahmedabad, Nov. 7: Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, who will be campaigning extensively in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh for the coming Assembly elections, is not the only one sought after by the BJP cadre in the poll-bound states.

The party, it seems, cannot do without the muscle power and political management of Madhu Srivastava, who is alleged to have threatened Zahira Sheikh, the key witness in the Best Bakery massacre case.

BJP workers of Bhopal and Dhar districts, who were impressed by his political skills during the previous elections, have decided to rope him in for electioneering in their respective constituencies. The MLA, who has won the Waghodia Assembly seat in Vadodara for three consecutive terms, has been requested to reach Madhya Pradesh by Monday.

Unlike Modi, Srivastava is not known for his oratory skills, but for his art of winning elections that the BJP in Madhya Pradesh would like to emulate.

The 51-year-old BJP leader, who was recently felicitated by his friends in the US where he stayed for more than two weeks, said he felt honoured by the invitation from the cadre of the neighbouring state.

Four days before he returned from the US on October 10, an FIR was lodged against Srivastava and his cousin, Chandrakant, by Zahira’s brother Nafitullah, accusing the MLA of threatening his family members to retract their statements in court.

However, this does not prevent the BJP leader from travelling to Madhya Pradesh with 40 of his supporters as Nafitullah has contradicted his earlier statement and Zahira and her mother do not want to give any statement to Vadodara police.

Srivastava’s job in Madhya Pradesh would be “political management”, said Gujarat party president Rajendrasinh Rana.

The Intelligence Bureau will look after Srivastava’s security when he moves out of the state.

The BJP leader has also ensured that his family members are “well protected” when he is not in Gujarat. Vadodara police commissioner Sudhir Sinha has deployed four constables at his residence.

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