Karnataka focus: PM Narendra Modi set for 20 pre-poll rallies

NEW DELHI: With Prime Minister Narendra Modi as BJP’s chief campaigner for the Karnataka assembly elections, the state party unit plans at least 20-odd rallies to be addressed by him, according to party managers working on the schedule.
In fact, the last leg of the campaigning for the May 10 polls – from May 6 to 8 – might have the PM camping in the state and focusing on strongholds of rivals Congress and JD(S), it is learnt.
With factional fights and high anti-incumbency against the governing BJP in the state, it is only Modi magic that can help pull off a victory, feel party managers. According to them, the plan is to have at least three Modi rallies in each of the six regions the state has been divided into. Of these, some areas like Hyderabad-Karnataka (bordering Andhra Pradesh), which has about 40 assembly seats, may have more rallies by the PM. With Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge as the tallest leader from this region, BJP had won only 15 seats from here in the last assembly polls.
As the Basavaraj Bommai government is facing some corruption charges, the party’s campaign is likely to rest on Modi connecting directly with people, picking up local issues and local icons, without mentioning much in terms of names of the party’s state functionaries. This was already witnessed in the seven rallies that Modi held at various places like Hubballi, Mandya, etc. recently, before the poll dates were announced. “This way he (PM) would not be seen as backing any single leader during the campaign,” say party insiders.

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The Karnataka BJP unit has even suggested that the poll campaign, especially by Modi and other central leaders, should not limit itself to rivals, but send out the message that the central leadership is ready to act against its own people when it comes to corruption and nepotism in the state. However, former chief minister BS Yediyurappa will be the local face of the party’s campaign.

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