Amit Shah ‘alter ego’ Dharmendra Pradhan to man ‘slippery’ Karnataka poll

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, February 4: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday appointed Union Minister Education Dharmendra Pradhan as election in-charge for the poll bound Karnataka. Tamil Nadu BJP unit chief K. Annamalai will aide Pradhan in the task.

Prakash Javdekar, when he was the Union Minister for Education, had helmed Karnataka for the BJP. Election in-charges in the BJP are positions which go to the Union Ministers on the premise that their official positions could make their movements easier in the poll bound states.

Union Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah is micro-managing the Karnataka Assembly elections’ preparations for the BJP on the lines of the recently held Gujarat polls. The BJP bagged over three-fourth Assembly seats in Gujarat. But Karnataka is on a slipper grounds for the BJP, notes several party leaders, while making their assessments.

“Pradhan is the alter ego of Shah. The Education Minister is among a few Union Ministers who constitute the inner circle of Shah. Also, the Narendra Modi government is without ministers who can handle tricky situations in Karnataka where the party has challenges within and outside the party,” said a senior BJP functionary, who noted that the saffron outfit would be able to stay in power in Karnataka only if Shah is able to execute his micro-management on the grounds.

While Shah had stayed focused in the Gujarat polls where the party won handsomely, the BJP lost the Himachal Pradesh polls where the party chief JP Nadda had been managing the show, underlined a BJP functionary, who argued that Karnataka is in a similar situations as were prevailing in the hilly state.

“With Pradhan in the show, Shah will have clear line of communications in executing strategies. Nadda and his team may work on the organizational robustness. Shah with the aid of Pradhan will need to get all eggs in the basket, which currently are scattered,” said another senior BJP functionary.

It may be noted that the influential Karnataka Minister B. Sriramulu, a Valmiki leader (scheduled tribe), has been rebellious. The saffron outfit is yet to buy peace with ambitious regional satraps in the state such as KS Eshwarappa, while the much awaited Cabinet expansion gets delayed. Also, Shah in his last roadshow in the state had to bring all Karnataka party heads together to project a semblance of unity.

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