NEW DELHI: With the high-profile Karnataka Assembly elections due to be held in May, the BJP’s two top leaders, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah, are all set to visit the poll-bound state yet again.
While the home minister will be landing late Thursday night, the Prime Minister is expected to visit the state on Saturday. Both the saffron heavyweights will visit the Lingayat-dominated areas, to consolidate this powerful votebank. Also, with an eye on the rural votebank, the state government has kicked off a bunch of irrigation projects worth Rs 2,800 crores.
Targeting the backwards’ votebank, chief minister Basavaraj Bommai has so far earmarked Rs 30,000 crores for the Scheduled Castes Sub-Plan (SCSP) and Tribal Sub-Plan (TSP). While the home minister is visiting the state twice in a week, this will be the Prime Minister’s seventh visit to the state. The PM will attend the closing ceremony of the BJP’s Vijaya Sankalp Yatra in Lingayat-dominated Devangere. Mr Modi is also expected to address a public rally.
As the state gears up for the polls, BJP strategists are of the view that the party will “comfortably breast the tape”, with the AAP and AIMIM throwing their hats into the ring. Even as the situation seems to be tough for the parties in the fray, the BJP spin doctors claimed that the AAP and AIMIM will “split the Opposition vote”. The BJP also seems to be somewhat confident that the Prime Minister’s repeated visits to the state would also swing the election in the party’s favour.
The BJP also felt that the Basavaraj Bommai government got a shot in the arm with the Supreme Court “not staying” the water diversion project at the Mahadayi River. Mr Bommai has also been playing the Karnataka pride card by effectively, countering the “Marathi politics” in the Bombay-Karnataka region, sources said.
Mr Bommai also announced that the state government has set a target to provide drinking water to 4.64 lakh households in Vijaypura districts and has given connections to 2.87 lakh houses. With the prime target being the rural votebank, the Bommai government has disbursed nearly Rs 16,000 crores among 54 lakh farmers, while the schemes for the uplift of farmers, women, youth and working class have been launched.