With less than 10 days left for polling, the BJP, which confidently claims it will sweep the polls riding on the Modi wave, is at odds with the erstwhile KJP leaders who rejoined the party.
Frontline leaders and candidates are a worried lot because of the differences among leaders and party workers in a few places.
Although both KJP and BJP leaders put up a united front during the visits of national and state leaders, they fell apart later during the campaign. The divide is evident in Chamrajnagar constituency and some places in Mysore constituency as well.
In Chamrajnagar, the former KJP leaders are involved in a cold war with BJP candidate A R Krishna Murthy as he did not join B S Yeddyurappa when the latter floated the new party. As a result, Murthy’s campaign tour in Varuna and H D Kote constituencies had to be cancelled as local leaders did not come forward to support him. So he has been campaigning only with former minister V Somanna and some followers.
However, the party’s campaign is at its peak in Gundlupet. In the 2013 polls, KJP candidate Niranjan Kumar had lost to Congress’ H S Mahadeva Prasad by a narrow margin. But KJP candidates had fared well in Varuna, Chamrajnagar, Kollegal, H D Kote and Nanjangud taluks in the Assembly elections.
Nagesh, a BJP worker, said the differences among local leaders will not prevent the party’s victory. Murthy, who has lost three elections in a row, will do well this time because of the sympathy factor, he said.
Nevertheless, senior BJP leaders K S Eshwarappa and Somanna are leaving no stone unturned to mend the rift in the party. They have advised partymen to bury their differences as the party had lost the previous elections by narrow margin of 4,000 votes.
BJP national general secretary H N Ananth Kumar too has joined the effort by roping veteran Lingayat leader M Mahadev into the party and this may be advantageous in Nanjangud and Chamrajnagar taluks.
Kumar said, “Our campaign tour will also stitch the differences between the leaders and workers of BJP and KJP. The Modi factor will also bring them together.”
There are hopes that Yeddyurappa will be able to heal the rift. The former chief minister is being sought after for campaigning as partymen believe that he will be able to consolidate Veerashaiva votes.
Leaders from Mysore and Chamrajnagar have appealed to him to tour both the constituencies to mobilise support for BJP. Murthy said they have requested Yeddyurappa to spare two days for Mysore and Chamrajnagar. His visit will end the confusion and boost the morale of workers, he said.
State BJP secretary Y V Ravishankar said they are working on bringing both the leaders together. There may be differences among a few party workers, but this will be resolved after Yeddyurappa’s visit and Modi’s rally in Mysore, he said.