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Survey push to BJP campaign in Karnataka

Assembly poll surveys undertaken by professional agencies for the BJP in Karnataka have shown the party is up against a formidable rival led by Congress chief minister Siddaramaiah and that it has to work harder to turn the tide in its favour, sources have said.

By J.P. YADAV
  • Published 16.04.18
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Siddaramaiah. File picture

New Delhi: Assembly poll surveys undertaken by professional agencies for the BJP in Karnataka have shown the party is up against a formidable rival led by Congress chief minister Siddaramaiah and that it has to work harder to turn the tide in its favour, sources have said.

This has prompted BJP chief Amit Shah to ask state and central leaders to campaign intensively in Karnataka, where elections are due in May, and increased the likelihood of a Gujarat-like all-out canvassing by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the southern state, the BJP sources said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah during the BJP Central Election Committee meeting, at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi on Sunday. PTI picture

The BJP's hunger to win every election under Modi and Shah has generated unprecedented national interest in the Karnataka Assembly polls. The outcome will set the tone for next year's Lok Sabha elections.

For the BJP, victory is important not only because the party wants to snatch yet another state from the Congress, but also to deal a blow to the growing perception that Modi can be defeated in 2019.

"Surveys conducted in the past months show a close contest with no clear winner. In some surveys the Congress is ahead and in some others the BJP," a leader associated with the BJP's Karnataka affairs said. The leader refused to share details of the surveys but acknowledged that winning Karnataka would not be a cakewalk for the BJP.

The leader said the H.D. Deve Gowda-led Janata Dal (Secular) could emerge as the kingmaker, according to the surveys. He said the surveys had shown that neither the Congress nor the BJP can form the government on its own.

"There is still time left and we are hopeful that once our star campaigner, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, launches a full-fledged campaign in the state he will sway the electorate and the BJP will be able to get a majority on its own," the leader said.

The leader pointed out that the situation in Gujarat before the recent Assembly elections had not been very favourable for the BJP but Modi's campaign helped the party emerge victorious.

Already, both Modi and Shah have made a number of visits to Karnataka. As the elections approach, Modi in particular is likely to address several rallies.