Bengaluru, April 30 (IANS) The ruling BJP in Karnataka, which is contesting the May 10 Assembly elections by carrying out its biggest experiment by fielding 72 new faces after denying tickets to some of its top leaders, is seeking votes in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
According to BJP insiders, the saffron party is banking heavily on the wave to be created by national leaders in the run-up to the elections.
The party leadership has planned a series of meetings, public rallies, and roadshows of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to counter the heat of rebellion and anti-incumbency.
Amit Shah has already completed the first leg of his tour after the announcement of elections in the state. He has toured south Karnataka, the coastal region and north Karnataka.
PM Modi has already entered Karnataka for campaigning and on the first of his two-day visit to the poll-bound state, he addressed three public rallies in north Karnataka and held a mega roadshow in Bengaluru on Saturday.
Modi will hold rallies in south Karnataka on Sunday, including in Channapatna from where former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy of JD-S is contesting.
The BJP has fielded C.P. Yogeshwara as its candidate in Channapatna. The JD-S has ridiculed Modi’s visit and challenged the BJP leadership that JD-S is not bothered even if the BJP ropes in US or Russian Presidents.
PM Modi is also holding rallies in Hassan, the native place of former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, and in the historic city of Mysuru.
The whirlwind tour of Modi is expected to create a wave for the saffron party and give advantage to its candidates in south Karnataka. The BJP is facing formidable candidates of JD-S and Congress in this region. Also, the roots of BJP are not so strong here.
The saffron party has decided to organise about 20 to 25 public rallies, conventions and roadshows of the Prime Minister across the state.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Minister for Women and Child Welfare Smriti Irani are also camping in the state.
Addressing the large gathering in Bengaluru on Saturday, Modi said: “I am the servant of Karnataka and I want to do everything for the state. For me, Karnataka is an important state. I need your blessings. A new team has been made ready to play an important role in Amrit Kaal. It is a mixture of new spirit and old roots. The strong team is ready and it needs your support.”
Modi also made a special appeal to Karnataka voters that he will depute the whole of New Delhi for its welfare.
“I want a majority government here. I repeat, full majority. The double-engine government is needed for development, infrastructure, etc. Karnataka should not become the ATM of Congress. It should become the country’s growth engine,” Modi said.
Senior journalist R.V. Sivanandan told IANS that though the rallies and the series of programmes of PM Modi and Amit Shah will help the BJP, they also show that they are panicky.
The way Modi and Shah’s programmes are finalised, they expose a chin in their armor, he said.
“This kind of response was not expected from the BJP. Though the pre-poll surveys predicted BJP’s setback, considering the party’s manpower, muscle power and huge resources, the saffron camp still has an edge,” he said.
Sivanandan also said that the roadshows are carefully organised at the weak points.
“In north Karnataka, Shah visited Basava Kalyan twice which sends a wrong signal. Modi’s roadshows are planned in Kalaburagi north and south constituencies where the BJP is weak. Modi’s charisma will definitely help the party, but it will also expose that the party is on a shaky ground,” Sivanandan said.
Union ministers who are campaigning in Karnataka are holding multiple press conferences, and it is difficult to comprehend this kind of campaigning blitzkrieg, Sivanandan said.
BJP insiders explained that since Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai or any other state leader have failed to emerge as a mass leader, it has become inevitable for the party to depend heavily on the publicity of Modi and Shah.
Karnataka Congress in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala has said that it is an insult to Bommai and former CM B.S. Yediyurappa that the PM didn’t even mention their names or invoked even one of Karnataka government’s schemes during his public addresses in the state.
“What more proof is required to show that the PM doesn’t have confidence in his own party leaders and the government,” he said.
Surjewala added: “The people of Karnataka will ensure that the 40 per cent commission BJP will get less than 40 seats.”
BJP banks big time on campaign blitz of Modi, Shah and Yogi