Thanks to Congress dissension: But BJP's 'neo-confidence' may be unrealistic

According to BJP insiders, the new confidence seemed to have started dawning on them especially in the wake of intense infighting that surfaced in Congress.

Published: 21st April 2018 12:05 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st April 2018 12:53 PM   |  A+A-

BJP national chief Amit Shah addressing a gathering of professionals and entrepreneurs in Bengaluru on Thursday, Party state president B S Yeddyurappa looks on | Nagaraja Gadekal


BENGALURU: Amid repeated and clear admittance that it has a stiff battle to fight in the Congress-ruled Karnataka, the BJP seemed to have discovered a new-found 'confidence' with leaders asserting that the party may cross 150 mark taking advantage of the infighting in the Congress on issue of tickets.

According to BJP insiders, the new confidence seemed to have started dawning on them especially in the wake of intense infighting that surfaced in Congress especially after distribution of tickets to 218 aspirants.

However, some of them theel the optimism may be unrealistic.

"Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and under the stewardship of Amitbhai (Amit Shah), we are going to cross 150.

The results of Karnataka will be as exceptional and surprising as it was in Uttar Pradesh and Tripura," senior party leader and Union Minister Ananth Kumar told UNI here.

"We stunned all of you in the media when we won 325 seats in Uttar Pradesh. Similarly, we ousted Marxistsin Tripura and our vote share rose from 1.5 per cent to 43. It was a dream come true for us," says Mr Kumar.

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Even the party chief Amit Shah has started exuding the confidence yet again and during his recent visit to the state directed the party workers and leaders to put up their best show especially to win maximum of the 28 assembly seats in Bengaluru city itself.

The BJP poll managers feel despite large scale criticism and pin-pointed attack on the Modi government for being anti-Dalit and anti-minorities, the Lotus party has able to hold on to some percentage of voters from these sections.

"People do not turn up just for the sake of it. In constituencies like Hebbal, where Y A Naraynaswamy filed his nomination, a large number of Muslims turned up. So, we continue to have a share of votes. Moreover we have hold on to our traditional support base among upper castes especially Brahmins and Lingayats," says Nasir Ahmed, a minority wing office bearer in the constituency.

Endorsing him a 56-year-old H Nazzila, a housewife from Mothinagar area, says: "The BJP's initiatives on certain controversial issues like Triple Talaq have gone down well.

There will be increase in percentage of Muslim women voting for BJP".

Other BJP workers in several assembly segments point out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi continues to be "biggest vote catcher" in the country and once he starts campaigning, things will further turn in favour of BJP.

"We all are Narendra Modi fans," says Nitin Pandey, an original inhabitant of Uttar Pradesh and a voter in Hebbal constituency.

The 25-year-old Pandey, who speaks fluent Kannad, says, "Come what may, BJP will put up a good show in Bengaluru and Karnataka and most of these votes will be in the name of Narendra Modi".

The clamour for Mr Modi to campaign has already begun even in social network.

One Twitterati Usha recently wrote: "As usual you (Narendra Modi) are expected to be in election campaign".

However, there are challenges too.

The BJP's internal report, according to sources, not yet gives majority mark of 113 seats to the saffron party.

"There is a visible nervousness in BJP camp," insists Rafiq Qadir, a Muslim social worker in Shantinagar assembly seat.

He says the BJP's Hindutva politics is not yielding expected results yet.

"While big or smaller caste groups are primarily Hindu, the BJP is having little success winning them over despite projecting an image of itself as a protector of the rights of Hindus," says Qadir.

The BJP sources do not deny the challenges.

In fact, in his series of meetings with party leaders from frontal organisations and booth level workers, BJP chief Amit Shah has sounded his displeasure on the performance of several state leaders.

"Shah is also upset with the functioning of youth wing of the state unit and other frontal bodies also," one party insider said.

It is in this context, they point out the BJP national president has decided to enlist the services of leaders from other states including union Ministers.

In the wake of 'absence of killer instinct' among many state-level leaders, some key trusted aides of Mr Shah have been made regional and sub-regional in charges.

They include Delhi-based BJP leader Satish Upadhaya for Mysuru region, Gujarat-based leader C R Patil and O P Mathur have been put in-charge for the crucial Coastal region.

Similarly, sources said Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan Bhupender Yadav along with some leaders have been put in-charge for Hyderabad-Karnataka region.

Mr Shah has also decided to enlist the services of leaders like Ram Madhav, Gopal Shetty and Ashsish Shellar.

The leadership has also decided to give further push to its pro-Hindutva slant.

As part of this strategy in fact, recent court orders on Mecca Masjid blast in Hyderabad and Gujarat High Court on Maya Kodnani will boost BJP prospects, say party leaders and supports.

"People are proud of the party's pro-Hindu ideology.

Hindus really think that, under the rule of Congress, Christians and Muslims have always received preferential treatment.

We Hindus must come together and vote out BJP," says Tushar Rajendra, a voter in Mahadevapura assembly segment.

In fact, leaders like Mr Ananth Kumar say the Congress camp is not only in disarray, there is "nervousness" as well even in Chief Minister Siddaramaiah vis-a-vis Chamundeshwari as he wants to contest also from Badami.

"As a migratory bird, Siddaramaiah now wants to fly from South pole to the North.

He has also proved that he is the biggest Aya Ram, Gaya Ram in Karnataka politics," says Mr Kumar.

Another party leader from the remote Belgaum region seems to agree readily.

BJP corporator at Belgaum Deepak Jamkhandi says the compulsion of 'winning' has made Congress leadership desperate.

"This year's election in Karnataka is also for the survival of the Congress party as the country's oldest party will totally lose its relevance despite a favourable media if they lose out Karnataka," he says.


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