But PM Modi’s successive visits to the state have swung the mood and has given the saffron party a much-needed boost. Congress made the 40% commission allegations its trump card, and it gained traction after it promised free power, Rs 2,000 for the woman head of the family, and 10kg free rice to poor families if voted to governance.
But Modi’s whirlwind tours and his emphasis on development projects have helped BJP claw back lost ground, although the saffron party continues to battle strong anti-incumbency. On Sunday, Modi launched the Mysuru-Bengaluru expressway and the new IIT at Dharwad, besides various other developmental works.
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This was Modi’s sixth visit to Karnataka since January. “Modi is a big force in the party,” said BJP MLA Aravind Bellad. “The response in the state shows he has won the hearts of people. His credibility in the public eye is unparalleled. The more visits he makes to Karnataka, the better it is for the party.”
Aware that the PM can tilt the scales, BJP has strategically organized Modi’s programmes in different parts of the state, and it is now upbeat over the overwhelming response his events received in Mandya, Dharwad, Belagavi, Mangaluru, Bidar, and Mysuru.
“Modi’s visits to Karnataka to launch various development programs have gotten tremendous response, and they have reaffirmed the faith of all castes and communities in the party. He will be a game-changer, and it will undoubtedly be a turnaround for the party in the state,” said Bellad.
By heaping praise on former chief minister BS Yediyurappa during his visit to Shivamogga, the PM has deprived rival parties of an issue to target BJP.
He has also constantly stressed on development through a double-engine government and targeted Congress and JD(S) for indulging in petty politics. However, some political analysts feel Modi may have to make at “least a dozen more” visits to undo the damage done by state BJP functionaries.
Prof Ravindra Reshme, political analyst, said Modi has still not been able to erase the negative image of the state government and Karnataka BJP. “His roadshows certainly generated a wave of enthusiasm from the public wherever he went,” said Reshme.
“His public speeches did establish an emotional connect with the audience since he stressed the importance of inclusive development and corruption-free, efficient governance. But these sentiments have been completely absent from public discourse of frontline state BJP functionaries.”
Vishwas Shetty, another political commentator, said: “Modi needs to make at least a dozen visits to the state to undo the damage done by the state government and state party functionaries. I am sure BJP’s central leadership is aware of this, and they will ensure more visits.”
The post is published through a syndicated feed and attributed to Times Of India