Survey pointing slight edge in Karnataka, BJP unleashes early Modi blitzkrieg


Photo credit Twitter Narendra Modi

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, February 27: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has begun his Karnataka blitzkrieg at least two months ahead of the Assembly elections in the state. Modi held a rally in Belagavi. While Modi began warming up to the Karnataka Assembly elections last months, his tour is now gaining more intensity amid indications that the state will test the electoral might of the saffron outfit.

The BJP is learnt to be undertaking fortnightly ground surveys to assess the mood of the people in Karnataka. The last such survey had come to the conclusion that the BJP has a slight edge over the Opposition, sources said. The task of the BJP is to cut down the anti-incumbency factor against the Basavaraj Bommai government.

The promises of the freebie spree of Congress along with the party having a Dalit state leader as chief of the party are seen to be adding to the stress of the saffron outfit. The Bommai government couldn’t go aggressive to counter the promises of freebies by Congress in the state Budget, while toeing the Modi push to avoid the trap of unattached welfarism. The BJP cannot aggressively attack Mallikarjuna Kharge, for the Dalit in the state are associating with him with pride, sources in the saffron outfit said, which is making the ruling party to make a pitch that he’s a remote controlled by the Gandhis.

“Mallikarjuna Kharge is a namesake president (of Congress). Everyone knows who hold the remote control (in the party),” said Modi in his rally in Belagavi where he also held a roadshow. Dalit vote base in Karnataka is said to have sizable influence in about 65-70 Assembly seats out of the total 226. The BJP is without a Dalit match who can negate the impact of Kharge being appointed chief of Congress. With state leaders shying away from attacking Kharge, onus is seen to have come on Modi to counter the appeal of Congress among the scheduled castes in Karnataka.

Modi has visited Karnataka almost 10 times in the last two months, and he’s likely to be seen in action more often, as the BJP is seen to be building the poll plank on Brand Modi, with former state chief minister BS Yediyurappa playing the supporting role. “The surveys are pointing to slight edge for the BJP, but the assessments will get more realistic in the next few weeks as the election approaches,” said a senior BJP functionary. Karnataka Assembly election is likely to be held in the first week of May.

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