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BJP’s focus points for Karnataka polls: Fighting corruption, farmers welfare, Hindutva 

india Updated: Feb 23, 2018 23:59 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
BJP,Karnataka elections,Hindutva

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a BJP campaign rally ahead of Karnataka assembly elections, in Mysuru.(PTI File Photo)

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) campaign in Karnataka will be positioned on three major planks – fighting corruption, farmer welfare and Hindutva, represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyurappa and party chief Amit Shah respectively — senior party functionaries said on Friday.

The largest among the five states currently ruled by the Congress, the Karnataka assembly elections will be held in April-May this year. The BJP aims not only to make another state “Congress-mukt” (free of the Congress), but also to reclaim its gateway to the south.

For this, it is banking on Modi’s “clean” image and highlighting the “corruption-free” governance under him at the Centre, contrasting it with chief minister Siddaramaiah’s regime in the state. “Corruption under the Siddaramaiah government is a major issue,” BJP general secretary Muralidhar Rao said, echoing the sentiment expressed by several BJP campaigners at rallies across the state.

Modi addressed two rallies in Karnataka this month and will speak at two other public meetings between March 3 and 14. “The more he campaigns, the more it benefits the party,” said another BJP general secretary.

Shah has asked workers to ignore individual candidates in several constituencies and seek votes in Modi’s name. “I appeal to workers, don’t look at the candidate. Just look at the lotus symbol (the party’s symbol) and Modi’s photo,” Shah said in Bantwal in Dakshina Kannada district on Tuesday.

But the BJP also expects its state president and former chief minister Yeddyurappa to win over the agrarian community. The party has claimed more than 3,000 distressed farmers committed suicide in Karnataka under Congress government. As chief minister, Yeddyurappa had announced cheaper farm credit and asserts it was because of his campaign that Siddaramaiah announced a farm loan waiver.

Between November 2 and January end, Yeddyurappa carried out a road show, travelling over 11,000km to cover each of the 224 assembly constituencies, where he promised several farmers welfare measures. “I have promised to bring an investment of Rs 1 lakh crore to complete pending irrigation projects in Karnataka,” he said. “A special fund of Rs 10,000 crore will be created to help farmers in distress.”

There will also be a bold Hindutva imprint on the BJP campaign.

On a trip to Mangalore this week, Shah visited Kukke Shri Subrahmanya temple in South Kannada district, called on Sri Sri Vishwesha Teertha Swamiji of Pejavara Matha, and made a trip to Udupi Sri Krishna Matha. Shah’s itinerary included visits to the family members of Deepak Rao and Paresh Mesta – two BJP workers allegedly killed by radical outfits. Rao alleged that more than 20 Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and BJP workers have been killed by radical outfits in the last a few years under Siddaramaiah.

“Karnataka is suffering from 3 M’s — Murder, Mafia & Ministerial corruption. People of the state want to move away from Goonda Governance to Good Governance. It is only a matter of days that Congress govt will be out and BJP will be voted in,” Shah tweeted from Karnataka on Tuesday.

First Published: Feb 23, 2018 22:44 IST