The disarray in the ruling BJP in Karnataka manifested by repeated change of guard has given the Congress a hope of reviving its fortunes in the state after more than a decade.
With assembly polls in Karnataka widely expected to be held along with Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh later this year, Congress managers smell “a big opportunity” in the confusion among BJP ranks with factionalism having peaked after the exit of Lingayat strongman BS Yeddyurappa in July last year.
Since it came to power for the first time in a southern state in 2008, the BJP has been forced to change its CM thrice.
The Congress got its first opening recently when it wrested the Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha seat from the BJP in by-poll by a convincing margin.
Congress managers have now worked out a plan to cash in on this disorder.
The party will mainly focus on Lingayats and Vokaligas, the two dominant communities in the state. While Lingayats constitute 17% of the state's 65 million population, Vokaligas account for 15%.
The Lingayats had moved away from the Congress in 1990, when the party leadership unceremoniously removed Veerendra Patil as the chief minister in less than a year. He had earlier served as the chief minister from May 1968 to March 1971.
In April this year, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi tried to reconnect with the community by attending the 105th birthday of Swami Shivakumara of Siddaganga Math, which is identified with the Lingayats.
But the party has its own set of woes with the state unit heavily divided into various factions and plagued by indiscipline, which came to fore in June 11 polls to 11 legislative council seats.