Party holds mammoth meet to mark culmination of district-level poll meets
The embattled Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday set the political tone for its constituency-level campaign for the ensuing Karnataka Assembly elections by organising a mammoth rally of its workers in Bangalore as a show of strength where it relied on a two-pronged strategy of promising development of the State and assuring its cadre of not shunning the Hindutva ideology.
The emphasis on ideology ahead of the polls is being seen as an effort to endear itself to its cadre and the original support base that is now upset with the party over the infighting and series of scams involving its Ministers.
Addressing the ‘Vijay Sankalp Samavesha’ in Bangalore Palace Grounds, attended by a large number of party workers from different parts of the State to mark the culmination of the district-level poll meets, Deputy Chief Minister and former State president K.S. Eshwarappa remarked: “We want to make it clear that we will not shun the ideology for which the party was actually formed. This is not only vijay sankalp samavesha, but also vichaara (principle/ideology) sankalp samavesha as we want to reassure you of our commitment to ideology”.
Referring to the episode of the State legislature adopting the anti cow slaughter Bill amid opposition by the Opposition parties, including the Congress, he remarked: “We brought in that Bill because Hindus wanted protection of cows.” He challenged the Congress leaders to tell people especially when they enter villages for poll campaign that they opposed the efforts to protect the cows.
Referring to the recent appointment of Dharwad MP Pralhad Joshi as the BJP State president, Mr. Eshwarappa said the BJP had given the top post to a person like Mr. Joshi who had strived to uphold party ideology by leading the struggle to hoist the national flag at the Hubli Idgah grounds.
Meanwhile, indicating that development is its other poll plank, the BJP launched its poll slogan of: “Development is the aim – BJP is the way”. Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, who is the party’s chief ministerial candidate for the polls, promised to develop Karnataka into a model State if the party was voted to power again.
BJP national president Rajnath Singh, who addressed the convention through videoconference as he could not reach Bangalore due to technical snag developed by the aircraft in which three central leaders including himself was travelling, expressed confidence that the BJP would retain power in Karnataka and Mr. Shettar would become chief minister again.
He admitted that the party had to face some adverse situation for some time following its direction to the then Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa to step down. He asserted that the BJP would not allow any of its leaders facing corruption charges with prima facie evidence to continue in their chairs. He announced that several central leaders, including L.K. Advani and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, would campaign in Karnataka.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Joshi ridiculed the Congress following allegations by its leaders that it had collected money for issuing ticket. Referring to this, BJP national vice--president D.V. Sadananda Gowda urged Congress leaders G. Parameshwara and Siddaramaiah to publicly testify with respect to the allegations of “selling” the party ticket.