NEW DELHI: Wary of faction-fighting in BJP’s Karnataka unit with state polls less than a month away, team Amit Shah has shifted base from New Delhi to Bengaluru. Having assessed the depth of factionalism in the party unit in the state after release of the first list of candidates, the BJP chief along with his key aides is camping in Karnataka to iron out differences and project a united house.The BJP chief is seemingly not leaving the election campaign in the state solely to party’s chief ministerial candidate B S Yedyurappa. Hopping from one mutt to another, besides holding roadshows, Shah has sent a message to the state party leaders that he’s the top campaigner.
“Faction-fighting in the state unit is top concern for the party. The release of the first list of 72 candidates showed various factions are working at cross purposes. Shah and all his key aides will stay put in the state till conclusion of polls to ensure that party’s campaign isn’t derailed,” said a BJP functionary.Shan and his team have tried to accommodate the followers of all factions, led by Yedyurappa, K S Eshwarappa, Jagdish Shettar and Ananth Kumar.
“The BJP chief has withheld the second list, asking national general secretary Bhupendra Yadav to scrutinise the possible candidates minutely to avoid any backlash from party workers without compromising the winnability factor,” added the BJP leader.Though Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath was seen emerging as a star campaigner due to his appeal among followers of various mutts, he has largely been missing from action since the poll dates were announced.
“Yogi is busy in Lucknow. Shah will have to compensate for Yogi’s absence. Until the BJP unleashes PM Narendra Modi, who is likely to hold more than a dozen rallies in the state, Shah will remain the top campaigner,” said another leader.For party leaders brought from outside Karnataka, the BJP chief is learnt to have assigned the role of strategising for individual constituencies to avoid the ‘outsider’ tag. “Team Shah and other leaders have to work as aides to local leaders and project them effectively in the popular discourse,” added the BJP leader.