Amit Shah’s meeting with the Karnataka unit of the BJP comes at a time when the party has been pushed on the defensive over multiple issues, including renewed demands for a separate religion tag for Lingayats and the backlash from farmers in north Karnataka. Photo: PTI
Amit Shah’s meeting with the Karnataka unit of the BJP comes at a time when the party has been pushed on the defensive over multiple issues, including renewed demands for a separate religion tag for Lingayats and the backlash from farmers in north Karnataka. Photo: PTI

BJP president Amit Shah pushes for strengthening party’s base in Karnataka

Amit Shah instructs Karnataka unit of BJP to spread the word of misrule and highlight shortcomings of the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government

Bengaluru: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president Amit Shah on Sunday instructed the Karnataka unit of the party to “spread the word of the misrule" and highlight the shortcomings of the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government, strengthen grassroots of the organization in the run up to 2018 assembly elections, senior BJP leader and Union minister Ananth Kumar said.

“The single point agenda of today’s special meet was to discuss ways to uproot Congress misrule. In the next two months, make preparations for grassroots level campaign to bring BJP back to power," Kumar said.

He added that party workers have been instructed to frame a ‘chargesheet’ against Congress legislators to highlight the failed promises of the incumbent government.

Shah’s meeting with the Karnataka unit of the BJP comes at a time when the party has been pushed on the defensive over multiple issues including renewed demands for a separate religion tag for Lingayats (believed to be the single largest community in the state) and the backlash from farmer groups in north Karnataka—a stronghold for the party—over its claims of having achieved a major breakthrough in the Mahadayi (also known as Mandovi) river water dispute with Goa and Maharashtra.

Shah met with elected representatives, senior leaders of the BJP from the state, district presidents and other office bearers of the party in Bengaluru on Sunday.

Kumar said that the party has decided to carry out at least one convention for backward classes, dalits, women in all 224 constituencies of the state over the next 60 days. Kumar added that the party go deeper in strengthening grassroots with ‘Panna Pramukh’ (one worker for around 20 voters).

Shah, instrumental in BJP’s recent electoral victories in several state elections including Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh among others, has shifted his focus on Karnataka--one the last big states still under Congress rule--as the state heads into elections in 2018.

The BJP has continued to attack Siddaramaiah over fledgling law and order situation in the state, forcing an agrarian crisis and running a corrupt government among other issues as part of its campaign.

Shah’s last visit to Karnataka in August saw him tear into the state unit for lack of enthusiasm to corner the state government over corruption charges, Income Tax department raid on energy minister D.K.Shivakumar, fledgling law and order situation and an internal war between its state president B.S.Yeddyurappa and K.S.Eshwarappa among other issues.

Post his visit, Yeddyurappa--the party’s chief ministerial candidate--has undertaken a 75 day Parivarthana Yatra (tour) across the state to highlight the shortcomings of the Siddaramaiah government. Incidentally, all three major parties—Congress, BJP and Janata Dal (Secular)—are currently touring various parts of the state and holding election rallys on a daily basis.

Karnataka has assumed a larger role for the BJP’s larger scheme of planning including its dream of a ‘Congress Mukt Bharat’ and its entry into states like Tamil Nadu and Kerala, where it has little or no presence at all.

The election results of Karnataka would also provide some clarity on which way the state would swing in the 2019 Lok Sabha Polls as well.

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