Retaining power in Karnataka is expected to help Bharatiya Janata Party maintain the momentum of its winning streak and give the party confidence to sail through the upcoming polls in the Hindi heartland states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan later this year.
Whirlwind visits of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, and national president JP Nadda to the poll-bound state has no doubt given the party a leg-up in campaigning but it's up against a combative Congress which has sought to make corruption a central theme of the political narrative.
The BJP state unit is banking on the party's central leadership to shore up its prospects in the May 10 assembly polls as it fights anti-incumbency.
The party had taken out ‘Jana Sankalpa Yatre' covering almost all the constituencies in recent weeks as part of preparations for the polls.
However, it suffered a set-back as two of its MLCs quit the party and joined the Congress recently.
The BJP emerged as the largest party in 2018 but was short of majority, following which the Janata Dal-Secular and the Congress joined hands to form the government with JD-S leader HD Kumaraswamy becoming chief minister.
But it formed the Government in July 2019 with the help of 17 Congress and JD-S MLAs who resigned and joined forces with the BJP.
Here is a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis of the BJP.
- A robust central campaign team led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP President J P Nadda and assisted by a host of Union Ministers.
- Active campaigning of Lingayat strongman B S Yediyurappa, who has a pan-Karnataka following.
- The backing of the politically-influential Lingayat Community.
- Various development and social welfare programmes of the Modi government.
- A strong organisational base, backed by Sangh Parivar organisations.
- Anti-incumbency factor
- Arrest of BJP MLA Madal Virupakshappa and his son on bribery charges recently.
- Bribery charges levelled by contractors' body, private unaided schools and a pontiff of a Math, also a "40% commission charge" against it by Congress.
- Increasing support base in the Old Mysuru region, where it's weak, with its pro-Vokkaliga stand.
- Leverage Mandya independent MP Sumalatha Ambareesh's support to the BJP.
- To consolidate the base among the SC communities, especially Lambanis, following reservation-related decisions.
- To expand base among Vokkaligas and Lingayats, after increasing their reservation in education and government jobs.
- Tapping young voters and first time voters.
- Congress' campaign on corruption charges
- Minorities further drift away from the BJP after the OBC quota was scrapped for them.
- Potential dissidence in BJP in the event of failure of some aspirants to get a ticket.