Bangalore: Scotching reports that Narendra Modi is 'not interested in campaigning’ for upcoming polls in Karnataka owing to saffron party’s corrupt image, incumbent CM Jagadish Shettar stated that BJP’s poster-boy would canvass in five districts of the state.
“The party will utilise Modi's services . He will campaign in five districts,” Shettar told reporters after the party's foundation day celebrations.
Modi, who has recently been promoted to party’s Parliamentary board, had skipped a crucial meet on Friday, in which names of the candidates were to be finalised, prompting speculations that he wasn’t keen on campaigning in the state. However, party insiders claim that Modi’s ‘prior engagements prevented him from coming’.
“Moreover, campaigning in Karnataka is not new for Modi who had canvassed for the party in assembly and Lok Sabha polls in 2008 and 2009 respectively. There has been a huge clamour for Modi's campaign in Karnataka following his new status in the national politics,” added a BJP leader.
BJP yesterday had announced candidates for 140 seats of the 225-member assembly that includes one nominated member. The list includes names of Shettar, Deputy Chief Ministers R Ashoka and K S Eshwarappa from their home constituencies.
Shettar said the party will release its second list of its candidates either on April 9 or 10.
The party faces a difficult task of retaining power in the southern state in wake of corruption allegations against few of its ministers, notably the Reddy brothers, and many MLAs. On top of that, many of its incumbent legislators are deserting the party to either contest as independents or on other parties’ tickets.
Significantly, BJP had lost out to opposition Congress is the recent civic plls in the state, though by many as prelude to the assembly polls of May.
Also, former CM BS Yeddyurappa, who single-handedly won power for the saffron party in previous polls in 2008 is said to be a major factor. Though the maverick Lingayat strongman hasn’t kept shy of criticizing his former party at public functions, BJP insiders are not ruling out the possibility of him merging his fledgling Karnataka Janata Party back with BJP after the election owing to emotional connect with the saffron outfit.
(with PTI inputs)