Bengaluru: Last week the BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav landed in the city to hold talks with state RSS leaders about the poll scene in Karnataka.
According to party sources, his brief was clear. He did not meet any BJP leaders, met only RSS functionaries, got their feedback and shared his ideas with them before returning to New Delhi.
Ram Madhav, credited with BJP’s spectacular growth in the North Eastern states, was in poll-bound Karnataka to chalk out Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign plan, claim state BJP leaders.
According to them, the BJP national leadership is not impressed with the campaign being done by the state unit and they want to unleash Modi “wave” to beat the ruling Congress, which has been running an effective campaign for the past four months.
The Congress president Rahul Gandhi has already completed the tour of entire state and has covered 28 out of 30 districts in the state. His public meetings have also attracted a big crowd worrying the BJP.
On the other hand, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has also taken both Modi and Shah head on attacking them on daily basis.
“Our campaign so far has been lacklustre. We have failed to put the Congress on back foot. Actually, they are setting the agenda and we are being forced to react to them. The party high command has taken a serious note of it and they seem to have decided to take direct charge of the campaign,” said a senior state BJP leader.
The Prime Minister has so far addressed four public meetings in the last four months and Amit Shah has toured more than 10-12 districts in the state. Modi is likely to address at least 8-10 public meetings in different parts of the state in the next one month.
The state BJP has requested him to address at least 15 public meetings. According to a spokesman of the party, depending on the situation Modi may spare more time for Karnataka addressing over a dozen meetings.
“PM Modi is our biggest weapon. We want him to create a Modi “wave” closer to the election. In Gujarat, he single handedly rescued the party from a certain defeat. The situation is not so favourable even here. We are hopeful that Prime Minister will do the magic,” he said.
The RSS is also of the opinion that Modi is their best bet and he should lead the campaign against Congress.
What is worrying the BJP more is its chief ministerial face BS Yeddyurappa’s lacklustre campaign in the last two months.
The series of sensitive issues like separate religion for Lingayats, Mahadayi river water sharing, corruption allegations etc have put him on the back foot and except him there are no other big crowd pullers in the state BJP.
“Whatever may be his weakness, Yeddyurappa is still our best bet. We don’t have any other leader who can replace him or at least match him. He is already 75 and not keeping a good health because of continuous travelling. Narendra Modi can help the party by creating a favourable atmosphere for us,” said a state leader of the BJP.
The saffron party has already deployed 105 LED vehicles for campaigning across the state and these ultra-modern vehicles will live beam all activities of the party in the next one month. The party also wants the Prime Minister to focus on region specific issues in his speeches.
When Rahul Gandhi was asked about the BJP using Modi to beat Congress in Karnataka, he said that Congress campaign was not over and they will also step up the canvassing till the last day. Siddaramaiah said that neither Modi, nor Shah can change the public mood as the voters have already decided to back the Congress and reject the BJP.
The UP CM Yogi Adityanath is also likely to address a few public meetings playing Hindutva card in the state. The Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, whose wife is a Kannadiga, is also expected to spend eight days in Karnataka closer to voting.
“During his oath-taking PM Modi had asked him to campaign in Karnataka for eight days. He agreed to that and will play “son-in-law” card in this election,” said a family member of his wife Dr Sadhana Thakur.