The Bharatiya Janata party has counted on the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to win elections, and it appears that Karnataka will be no different either. With several opinion polls predicting a fractured mandate in Karnataka, the BJP has decided to field its star leaders to provide a push to the party’s campaign in the last leg. The assembly polls in the southern state is a fight of prestige for the saffron party as it looks to continue its winning momentum and also set the tone for 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
While the party has already pressed top people from the central leadership including PM Narendra Modi and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to campaign in the state for last few days, it is hopeful of a turn in fortunes with PM hitting the last phase of the campaign. Now, the BJP has decided that PM Modi will hold 21 public rallies in different parts of the state instead of 15 scheduled earlier. The campaigning for May 12 election will end on May 10 but before that the party wants to ensure that people make up their mind and vote for BJP candidates.
Known for his oratory skills, PM Modi holds the key to convert crowds in his rallies into numbers on the election day and it is perhaps for this reason that the party has taken has now decided to field the Prime Minister more prominentlky during the campaign. BJP leaders said that the decision was taken after the massive crowds seen during his rallies. The PM has so far addressed six election rallies in the state. Leaders said that the positive response from public has come as a breather for the party which is hopeful of a clear-cut majority.
At the same time, the decision shows the BJP continues to rely on PM Modi’s charisma during elections in any states. During Gujarat Assembly polls last year, Modi had addressed 34 rallies in different corners of his home state whereas in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls same year, he had spoken at 24 public meetings.
BJP national president Amit Shah has been addressing rallies and holding roadshows in the state. He is expected to address at least 30 rallies. Party’s firebrand leader Adityanath who kick-started the campaign on Thursday, is likely to address at least 20 rallies. The party had last month released a list of 40 star campaigners. Besides Modi, Shah and Adityanath, it included names of Union Ministers Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari, Smriti Irani, Rajnath Singh, Prakash Javadekar, Piyush Goyal and chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa. Names of BJP CMs were also among others who the party has fielded in the southern states.
The BJP has been making concrete efforts to unseat the Congress party in the state where it has changed the arithmetic with its decision to recognise Lingayats as a religion and grant minority status tag. If the Congress manages to retain power, it will come as a major boost to its cadres who have tasted successive defeats since 2014. On the other hand, if the BJP wins here, it will emerge stronger and 2019 will certainly become easier upto some extent.
The Karnataka Assembly has 224 chairs. Elections to elect a new House will be held on May 12 and results will be declared on May 15. The tenure of currently Assembly ends on May 28.