The ruling BJP's first election campaign in Bangalore earlier this month might have been a non-starter, with most of the Central leaders failing to show up. But the party more than made up for it on Sunday with a huge show of strength.
With party veteran LK Advani, party president Rajnath Singh, leader of the opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, senior leader Venkaiah Naidu and chief minister Jagadish Shettar addressing rallies across the state, it provided some of the much-needed boost for the party.
Predictably, the focus of the campaign was the Gujarat model of growth and corruption, which has been a key poll issue in the state.
Addressing the rally at Renebennur in Haveri district, around 310 km from Bangalore, Advani said the BJP would repeat the Gujarat mode of development in Karnataka if it got a second term in the state.
In an oblique reference to former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa, Advani said the party would not tolerate corruption and was ready to make sacrifices to retain its clean image.
At the rally at Bangalore, Swaraj acknowledged the dire straits the party found itself in lately. "We had to change the chief minister twice; there were so much dissident activity. But now, there is a healthy atmosphere," she added on an optimistic note.
Attacking the Congress on the issues of terrorism and the lack of safety for woman, Swaraj said, "After the rape on a child in Delhi, Sonia Gandhi asked for action and not words. The Congress has done nothing to make women more secure."