iconimg Saturday, August 29, 2015

Shekhar Iyer, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 29, 2013
Even as a beleaguered BJP in Karnataka looks towards Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to be its star campaigner, party insiders say that Modi may not be too keen to walk into the "mess" in Karnataka.

State BJP leaders are counting on his charisma to fend off challenges arising from a buoyant Congress, and its own rebels led by BS Yeddyurappa and others under the banner of Badava Shramika Raitha Congress.

Facing anti-incumbency, the first saffron government in the south is also reeling under charges of corruption, desertion by MLAs, and unabated infighting. After poor results in the recently held polls to the urban local bodies, the BJP needs a boost in the state, but those who understand Modi's style of functioning discount the possibility of his taking a full plunge.

A negative result, the probability of which is very strong according to party leaders, will add to his image problems.

Even during the last assembly poll in 2008 when BJP came to power for the first time, Yeddyurappa outshone Modi by using the "sympathy" plank after being denied his turn as CM by Jananta Dal (Secular) leader H D Kumaraswamy.

Selection of Lok Sabha member Prahalad Joshi, last week, to head the state unit by party general secretary Ananth Kumar, has angered other BJP leaders including ex-CM Sadanand Gowda, culture minister Govind Karjol and deputy CM KS Eshwarappa, the man Joshi replaced.

Joshi, who is seen by many as Ananth Kumar's 'proxy', is said to have struck down the first list of probable candidates prepared by Eshwarappa, and is working on a new list, leaving Eshwarappa fuming.