A huge lotus cut-out representing the symbol of the Bharatiya Janata Party. [REPRESENTATIONAL IMAGE]IANS

A day after two BJP leaders were gunned down in Gujarat's Bharuch city, a massive manhunt has been launched to nab the assailants, police said on Tuesday.

The police were trying to ascertain the identities of the shooters who gunned down from close quarters BJP's former Bharuch district president Shirish Bengali and the party's youth wing district general secretary Pragnesh Mistry in Bharuch late on Monday evening.

Bengali was shot dead by two unidentified motorcycle-borne assailants, soon after he had returned after a party meeting in the city to discuss the upcoming local body elections.

He was in his office, from where he runs a local Gujarati daily, when the attackers barged in and shot him in the head, leaving him dead on the spot.

Mistry, who was with Bengali in his office, was also shot at. Mistry was rushed to a hospital in a critical state and was pronounced dead on reaching there.

Police sources said the motive for the murders was yet not clear -- given that Bengali and Mistry were neither politically active these days nor did they hold any post that mattered.

Bengali was a senior functionary of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Vishwa Hindu Parishad in Bharuch district and had later been moved to serve the BJP as the district general secretary earlier. He has also held the post of director with the State-owned fertilizer major, Gujarat Narmada Fertilizers Corporation (GNFC).

The attack on the BJP workers comes just before the state is set to hold municpal and panchayat elections from 22 November to 29 November.