Karnataka 2023: With Amit Shah’s Visit To Mandya, BJP Sounds The Poll Bugle In Vokkaliga Fortress
Amit Shah’s visit is expected to strengthen the BJP prospects in Mandya region.
Union Home Minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Amit Shah is visiting Gowda heartland Mandya today (30 December).
He will inaugurate a mega dairy as well as address the ‘BJP Sankalpa Yatre’, a public rally, which according to state Cooperation Minister S T Somashekhar will have over 1 lakh people in attendance.
Somashekhar said, Amit Shah’s visit would strengthen the BJP prospects in Mandya in the days to come, and it will no longer remain the fortress of Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(S).
“Our aim is to secure maximum number of constituencies in Mandya, Mysuru, Chamarajanagar, Ramanagara and Hassan regions in the 2023 assembly elections. To this end, we are paying special attention to strengthening the party,” he said.
According to reports, Shah is set to hold a meeting with the party’s state leaders tonight as well as a breakfast meet tomorrow, followed by a meeting with booth-level workers and polling agents.
With this, one can see the election bugle has been sounded, and clearly the saffron party has its mind set on wooing the second largest vote-bank.
While it does have the challenge of ensuring its first largest and most loyal (so far) vote-bank of Lingayats stay with it, the party seems determined to make key breakthroughs in winning over the Vokkaligas in the sugar bowl of Karnataka.
It is the fortress of the JD(S) and has been traditionally a battle between the Gowda-family led party and the Congress, with BJP trailing a far third always. But equations have changed since last assembly elections.
The Gowda scion, Nikhil Kumaraswamy, lost to BJP-backed independent candidate Sumalatha Ambareesh in the Lok Sabha elections. This despite JD(S) having six MLAs in Mandya district.
JD(S) MLA K C Narayana Gowda switched over to the BJP, and in the 2019 by-polls that followed won the seat defeating JD(S) candidate B L Devaraj.
In a seat that the BJP hadn’t crossed 10,000 votes, it won by a margin of 9,731 votes, thereby opening the saffron party’s account in the region.
The credit was accorded to Gowda’s incumbency as much to the ‘son of the soil’ and the then chief minister B S Yediyurappa, who also hails from Bookanakere in K R Pete taluk.
Six other assembly seats though are in the JD(S) kitty, but it has lost its legislative council seat of South Graduates constituency to the Congress — which is yet another sign of its failing grip over its traditional vote bank — since the seat spans over its own ‘fortress’.
While it had won the previous election, a new candidate Ramu and disgruntled partymen, including the only JD(S) MLC Marithibbegowda, saw the party fare a distant third.
A 108-feet tall statue of Nadaprabhu Kempegowda has been installed and dedicated to public by Prime Minister Narendra Modi few months ago. An announcement for a Ram temple on the lines of the one at Ayodhya has been proposed at Ramnagara recently by state minister Dr Ashwath Narayan.
Just on the eve of Shah’s visit to the state, the issue of reservation has been handled for now with the state cabinet making provisions for the hike by re-categorisation.
The Congress proposed protest rally for Mahadayi has also been dampened with the announcement of the Centre’s approval of the detailed project report for implementation of the decades-old Kalasa-Bhanduri drinking water project in the inter-state Mahadayi river basin.
In all, the BJP is going all out to ensure the lotus blooms in the sugar bowl of Karnataka.
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