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BJP's last throw of the dice in Karnataka: Narendra Modi

By Vicky Nanjappa
March 25, 2013 11:11 IST
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The Bharatiya Janata Party is looking upto Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to turn the tide in its favour in Karnataka. But Modi’s job won’t be easy. Vicky Nanjappa reports

The Bharatiya Janata Party in Karnataka is trying everything under the sun to ensure that it retains power after the elections in May.

Going by the mood in the party and speaking to a cross section of its leaders, each one is unanimous while they say that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is their only hope.

The high profile BJP leader will possibly face one of his toughest tasks when he is brought to Karnataka to campaign for the party in the last week of April.

The BJP has decided to time his visit for the last minute so that the voters remember him when he cast their ballot on May 5.

With B S Yeddyurappa gone from the BJP, the party does not have a strong face who could pull votes across Karnataka.

The BJP in Karnataka says that Modi will be their star campaigner and he will be used mostly in the urban areas and northern Karnataka.

BJP workers say that Modi will campaign in all urban areas of Karnataka where the development mantra will be chanted.

Many in the urban areas already view him as the next Prime Minister of the country and hence they will be able to connect with him directly, the BJP sources told

The urban voter will be a key to the BJP as it has always been their strong hold.

However, this time around many feel let down by the party and they fear losing a large chunk of their votes due to a bad performance in the last five years dominated by dissidence and several corruption issues.

The BJP feels that Modi could change the tide for them, but it is also important that he throws hints about him taking centre stage during the next Lok Sabha elections, party sources say.

The bigger task for the BJP will be northern Karnataka, which the party dominated thanks to the Lingayat vote bank. However, the prospects look tough for the BJP this time around as there is bound to be a three-way split in the Lingayat votes.

The Congress proved that it could pull some of this vote bank in the recently-held local body polls. The BJP, thanks to Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, will take a considerable amount of votes while Yeddyurappa will play spoilsport.

In northern Karnataka, Modi would have to take a slightly different approach when compared to the urban part of Karnataka. He may have to tow the Hindutva mantra, which would be an instant hit for the people over there.

Modi would more importantly have show that the BJP is a united force and voting for the party would mean his own chances to become prime minister improves in the future.

Lastly, he will have to speak out against Yeddyurappa and tell the people that he had brought disgrace to the party.

The job though is not all that simple for Modi, as he will have several issues on his plate.

The last time around Modi campaigned very little in Karnataka as this responsibility was handled by Yeddyurappa. However, the BJP remains optimistic.

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