BENGALURU: There is a strategy afoot in the BJP to mount a soft offensive on the Congress-JDS stronghold of Old Mysuru, and spread its footprint in this Vokkaliga bastion. The party has had little traction here, and consistently failed to get a foothold.
National BJP president J P Nadda had raised the issue at a meeting while addressing newly-elected office-bearers of the Karnataka BJP, prompting party leaders to hammer out a plan for the region. State unit president MP Nalin Kumar Kateel is holding a meeting with party office-bearers on Wednesday to brainstorm and work out a plan for Old Mysuru. The BJP is looking to restructure its units and build booth-level cadre, as it has little or no presence or support at the panchayat and ward level.
Old Mysuru region in South Karnataka consists of areas that were part of the erstwhile
Kingdom of Mysore — Mysuru, Mandya,Chamarajanagar, Tumkur, Hassan, Kolar, Bengaluru — and excludes coastal areas and Kodagu.
Despite the BJP sweeping 25 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka and creating history by winning the KR Pet bypoll in Mandya district, its vote share has been very poor in 69 constituencies. Nadda had stressed that the BJP needs to spread its tentacles in this region dominated by the JDS and Congress, but knows it’s a tough ask: a majority of 90 seats in Old Mysuru are in the kitty of the Congress or JDS.
Even during Amit Shah’s tenure, the region had shown little interest in the BJP. The only place where the party has done well in the Old Mysuru area is Bengaluru city, and some pockets of Mysuru, said BJP general secretary and MLC Ravi Kumar. “We have classified the constituencies in the region into A, B and C. Most of them are either C or B, and we need to make them A constituencies with our programmes and policies,” Kumar said.
The party, which had struggled to get workers as most of them were already aligned with the other two parties, will focus on the booth and panchayat level and lay special emphasis on expanding the party’s organisational presence here.
Asked about it, Kateel said it is not to get more BJP members elected but to get a larger number of people to understand the party and get them to participate in their programmes. He is looking to assign office-bearers to each constituency.