PM Modi To Begin Karnataka Campaign With Three Rallies On Day One,  Rahul Gandhi Skips UdupiPrime Minister Narendra Modi with BJP’s chief ministerial candidate for upcoming Karnataka assembly election B S Yeddyurappa at a rally. (Arijit Sen/Hindustan Times via GettyImages)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will begin his campaign for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka today with three large rallies in Chamarajanagar, Udupi and Belagavi, the New Indian Express has reported.

According to the Firstpost, Modi will seek the blessings of the Pejawar pontiff Vishwesha Teertha Swamiji after addressing a rally in Udupi, the town famous for its Krishna temple and ashta mutts (eight mutts).

Congress President Rahul Gandhi has not visited the Udupi mutts, known to have little political influence. The mutts have been at loggerheads with Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah from the time he was with the JD(S).

According to the portal’s report, Swami Vishwesha Theertha has accused the Chief Minister of not visiting the mutt due to "pressure from some intellectuals".

With most pre-poll surveys indicating a hung assembly, the BJP is banking on Prime Minister’s popularity to get closer to the halfway mark of 113 seats.

Modi will address at least 15 rallies before the assembly elections on 12 May. He is expected to address rallies in Gulbarga, Ballari, and Bengaluru on 3 May. On 5 May, he will visit Tumkur, Shivamogga, and Hubbali. He will be in Raichur, Chitradurga and Kolar on 7 May. On 8 May, two days before campaigning ends, Modi may address public rallies in Vijayapura, Mangaluru and Bengaluru.

BJP President Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will also campaign in the final phase, addressing at least 30 and 20 rallies respectively.

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