Modi logs in 4 states in 2-day; BJP turns to ‘Mission South’


Photo credit Twitter Jana Sena party

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, November 12: Prime Minister Narendra Modi covered four southern states in two days, bring back focus on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s ‘Mission South’. Major thrust of Modi was to help build pro-incumbency air in Karnataka, and step up the morale of the BJP workers in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, besides Tamil Nadu.

Jana Sena chief and Telugu actor Pawan Kalyan called on Modi on Friday. The meeting fueled speculations about the BJP bid to find allies in Andhra Pradesh where the saffron outfit hopes to build bases. The BJP and various outfits launched by Telugu actors have not been able to break through into the citadel of the ruling YSR Congress and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP). The BJP’s hope to snatch the space for the national party vacated by Congress has so far yielded no result.

Kalyan is the younger brother of actor Chiranjeevi, who also used to pull massive crowd but they never translated into votes. The BJP keeps channels open with both the YSRCP and TDP, but the party is without a face or a social chemistry to spice up the Telugu politics with Modi charisma. Union Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah in his recent visit to Andhra Pradesh had met Telugu actor Junior NT Rama Rao, who is the son of the TDP founder Hari Krishna and grandson of NT Rama Rao, former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.

The BJP is ambitious in Telangana. Modi’s visit to Telangana was aimed to boost the morale of the party workers and step up campaign against the incumbent Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao. The result of the Munugode Assembly bypoll has sent the morale of the BJP workers soaring. The BJP was without an organizational structure, while the ruling Telangana Rashtra Party reportedly brought the full might of the party in the constituency, with one MLA manning three villages accompanied with obvious resources. The TRS could win the seat with just 10,000 votes. Sources said that the bypoll result has sent a dampener in the ranks of the TRS, while the BJP ambition has got additional shot in the arm.

The BJP’s ambition to gain acceptability south of Vindhyanchal has so far tested success only in Karnataka and Goa. Modi has been in Karnataka on three occasions in the past three months, and has clearly sent out the signal that he would carry the burden of the BJP campaign to beat the anti-incumbency in the next year’s Assembly elections. With three visits to Karnataka, Modi is seen warming up to the Karnataka match where the BJP will run into a formidable foe in Congress, which has a battery of strong local faces with castes backing them such as Siddaramiah (OBC), DK Shivkumar (Vokkaliga) and MB Patil (Lingayata), besides the party chief Mallikarjuna Kharge, who is projected as the Dalit face of the Opposition outfit.

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