Amit Shah takes Karnataka poll charge; Modi to set agenda

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, December 26: Union Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah has taken charge of the Karnataka Assembly elections, with the state Chief Minister Basavarj Bommai briefing him on the ground situations and the preparations of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is learnt to have asked for a timeline of projects in Karnataka to be unveiled in the run up to the elections to set his itinerary.

Bommai is in the national capital and currently holding a meeting with Shah at the latter’s residence. The Chief Minister had also met Shah a few days ago along with his Maharashtra counterpart Eknath Shinde on the land dispute between the two states. Bommai’s meeting with Shah is stated by the sources to set the course for the election preparations, besides addressing the ministerial aspirations of a section of the BJP MLAs in Karnataka.

It has been reliably learnt that the PMO has sought a detailed report from the Chief Minister on the status of the ongoing projects in Karnataka. Such projects are to be expedited for their completion ahead of the poll date announcement in Karnataka, sources said. It may be recalled that Modi had spent most of the days for a month in the run up to the announcement of the Gujarat Assembly elections to inaugurate a slew of projects to set the poll narrative in the state. The BJP romped home with a record victory, winning 156 Assembly seats in the Assembly of 182 seats.

Shah, sources said, is keen to replicate the Gujarat model of campaigning to build the pro-incumbency wave in favour of the BJP in Karnataka. Shah had also led the BJP campaign in Karnataka in the 2017 Karnataka Assembly elections when the party was stranded as the party could not cross the half way mark.

While the BJP is counting on the multi-cornered contests in Karnataka to work in favour of the party, Congress has hit the ground by releasing region specific manifestoes months ahead of the polls. Congress high command has also asked factions of the party in the state to bury their hatchets and work in unity. The JD (S), banking on its Vokkaliga vote base, with be the third pole in the state, as Karnataka will have a three cornered contests. The Aam Aadmi Party, buoyed over with its success in making a strong debut in the Gujarat politics with double-digit vote share, is gearing up to be the fourth corner of the Karnataka elctions.

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