Bengaluru will be painted saffron for the next three days with the arrival of BJP National President, Amit Shah who is visiting Karnataka as part of organizational work from Saturday.The visit assumes greater significance with the State looking ahead for Assembly polls early 2018 and the BJP itching to return to power after a dismal show in the 2013 elections following a vertical split with former Chief Minister B.S Yeddyurappa contesting from a separate party, Karnataka Janata Party and biting the dust. Much water has flown since then with Yeddyurappa back at the helm of affairs and despite differences within the party seen as the ray of hope for the party to capture power again.
The three-day visit by BJP President Amit Shah from August 12 is expected to galvanise the party cadre to achieve the mission of 150 plus seats in the Assembly elections out of the total of 224 seats. Shah’s presence is expected to give an impetus to the party rank and file.
Shah during his three-day hectic meetings would be covering virtually the entire cross section of party cadre and give his mind to them besides a patient listening to their grievances. He is likely to do much more during his extensive discussions which also included the new comers into the party, including former Chief Minister S.M Krishna, consultations with the leaders from the constituencies where the party had lost in the previous Lok Sabha elections and those involved in the outreach programme who visited every nook and corner of the state and had come out with the strategy for the elections.Though the visit is seen as a routine organisational effort, which Shah started three months ago and had covered around 17 States, his Karnataka tour assumes greater importance in view of the differences within the party and he is likely to stem the rot that is creeping in.
The BJP President would be impressing upon the Party leadership here to woo strong contenders in each assembly constituency who are in other political parties. This would be vigorously pursued in the old Mysore area of southern districts where the Vokkaliga caste is dominant along with backward classes. It would be a repeat of the operation that ensured the party’s success in Uttar Pradesh feels some political commentators. Over the next few months it would not be surprising if the party gets more leaders from other parties. The Central leadership has also indicated that it might go in for new aspirants apart from the old guards with an attempt to project a clean image.
The party was virtually in shambles post 2013 elections securing only 40 seats as against 110 it had secured in the previous election and managed to form government headed by B S Yeddyurappa, who had to quit half way on corruption charges and subsequently floated his own party. However after the debacle, Yeddyurappa amidst opposition within BJP returned to party fold and has vowed to ensure the party return to power in 2018 with a targeted 150 out of 224 seats. Party sources indicated that there would not be a parallel leadership or another power centre, rejecting as rumours about Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda being made the Campaign Committee Chairman. Yeddyurappa would lead the party at the hustings. Shah would also utilise the opportunity to iron out the differences in the party at various levels during the series of meetings that had been planned over the three days. Apart from internal party meetings, he would also be having discussions with intellectuals and visit religious and spiritual leaders. He is likely to make another visit to have meetings with religious leaders in other parts of the state.
Shah would be arriving on August 12 morning to a rousing reception and move to the party state headquarters where he would have a series of meetings before having a dialogue with intellectuals in the evening. He would be addressing party office bearers at various levels and meet Members of Parliament and Legislators separately.On August 13 he would attend the meeting of the party political affairs committee before leaving for Adi Chunchanagiri Mutt in Nagamangala taluk of Maddur district to meet the seer. In the evening he would call on Spiritual Guru Sri Sri Ravishankar at the Kanakapura Ashram.
The Party central leadership had in the past been working overtime to resolve the simmering differences especially between Yeddyurappa and former Deputy Chief Minister K S Eswarappa. Though the difference appear to have been put under the wraps, there persists a discomfort that might not be a good augury to the party at the hustings and Shah would make yet another attempt to mollify the detractors so that they could put up a united fight.The outcome of his three day visit will be eagerly watched and the follow up would be persistently reviewed by the central leadership which will leave no stone unturned for recapturing its southern base.