The arrest of two underworld killers by Uttar Pradesh Police has unravelled Pakistan’s plan to target leaders of the BJP ahead of the 2022 elections, sources have told CNN-News18.

Sources said the underworld had been activated by Pakistan before UP elections and the arrest of the two killers has revealed they wanted to kill Unnao BJP leader Pankaj Gupta.

The “task” was reportedly given by Pakistani operators who have activated sleeper cells to carry out their operations.

The BJP is gearing up for the elections in Uttar Pradesh, a state as diverse as politically significant for the various parties vying for power. BJP is currently running four campaigns under four different slogans talking about the major achievements of the Yogi Adityanath government and the failures of the previous governments.

The push by the government also comes amid the Opposition trying to cash in on the Lakhimpur Kheri violence in early October in which eight people, including four farmers, were killed when they were run over. The son of Union Minister Ajay Misra Teni is an accused in the case.

In the run-up to the polls, Home Minister Amit Shah is also expected to visit the state to hold meetings with party leaders in Lucknow. He will also launch the party’s membership drive and take feedback to strengthen preparations ahead of polls.

Amid the hectic build-up, the Pakistan input becomes a cause of concern for not just the state government but also the Centre and security agencies.

On Wednesday, former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said there was something wrong and dangerous happening at the borders, which the state could ill-afford to ignore. “Sleeper cells of the Pak ISI and Khalistani forces are creating trouble, technology is becoming more advanced. The capacity and range of drones is increasing, first they came in just 5-6 km from the border, now they reach 31 km," he pointed out.

“We have to be very careful of the clandestine war from across the borders," he added.