In a sustained manner carrying forward his election campaign, BJP Chief Amit Shah is moving around winnable constituencies in North Karnataka enthusing party workers and wooing the voters, the party workers are generally making demand for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to start his blitzkrieg.
"We are waiting for BJP President Mr Shah here on Saturday. It is fine but none can replace Prime Minister Modi," said Param Somaiwa, a local BJP worker at Hungund.
The political significance of Mr Shah's public meeting at Veeramani local ground at Ilakal in politically crucial Bagalkot district is not lost out on the BJP cadres as the saffron party is only making a determined bid to win over the electorate in the region where they had strong presence.
The BJP had won this seat in 2004 and 2008 but lost to Congress nominee Kashappanavar V Shivashankrappa in 2013.
"Our party has again rested faith in our former legislator Doddanagouda G Patil and we should win it rather comfortably," says another BJP worker Sam Manjunath.
In this Hungund assembly seat matters concerning water and irrigation projects are electoral issues - of course besides the caste - and thus both BJP and Congress are playing up the same to its hilt.
"Our Congress government brought in the Ramthal Water Project under the aegis of Bhagya Jala Nigam. The system used is drip and modern irrigation methods to ensure effective and purposeful use of water and also its conservation. This has resulted in almost 100 per cent increase in agricultural produces," says Congress worker Chetan Gurukripa adding, "Farmers are thus very happy with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's performance".
The claims are, however, dismissed by a teacher Shivesh Lamani, who says "The real issue will be corruption involved in the water projects. There is lot to talk about abuse of funds and contractors' deals with Rs 3,500-crore Tubachi-Bableshwar flood irrigation project. Moreover, around 15 constituencies put together in Bagalkot and Vijayapura districts have been traditionally anti-Congress and also Lingayat dominated".
The observation is shared by BJP workers who say in Bableshwar, the Congress heavy weight and Water Resources Minister M B Patil will face defeat.
Moreover, they say in Hungund assembly segment, the BJP has a strong presence as Doddanagouda G Patil had earlier won the seat twice 2004 and 2008. "In fact the victory margin in 2004 was about 18,000," says BJP worker Sam Manjunath.
But on the whole the BJP workers seem to wait eagerly for Prime Minister's rally and roadshows with many saying things cannot be sure till he starts campaign. "Most of us are surprised why Mr Modi delayed his campaign. May be that's a part of strategy," says BJP supporter Tushar Shankar in Bableshwar.
"Mr Modi.s popularity ought to be encashed and we must do it fast," he says.
"This constituency Bableshwar also falls under BJP's winnable list," says BJP booth worker Vats Krishna at Bableshwar also adding Mr Shah's visit will only boost the party prospects.
But the optimism has to face the reality too. Despite a pro-BJP wave, even in 2008, Congress leader M B Patil, son of legendary B M Saheb Patil, had won the Bableshwar seat In 2013 also he won again defeating Vijugouda Patil, who was then a JD(S) candidate.
The BJP has this time fielded Vijugouda Patil against M B Patil and there is a neo-confidence among BJP leaders like Krishna Gunhalkar.
"The issues of water and corruption will ensure Congress defeat. We suffered huge loses in 2013 due to Karnataka Janata Party of BS Yeddyurappa. But Mr Yeddyurappa is back with us. He is the tallest leader of the Lingayat community and is the Chief Ministerial face, so we are on a confident journey in constituencies like Bableshwar and also Hungund," he says.
Mr Gunhulkar also made light of the fact that Prime Minister has not yet started campaigning. "We are working to a plan and we need not reveal all these to media. But our party President Amit Shah is campaigning and traveling a lot. He will be addressing rallies at Hungund, Bableshwar and also participate in a mega roadshow at Vijayapura on Saturday," he says. (UNI)