Facing a daunting task of leading the ruling BJP in the May 5 Assembly polls in Karnataka, Lok Sabha member Prahlad Joshi on Saturday took over as the state chief admitting that the party’s image had been dented by “some blunders” in the last five years.

BJP leaders, including Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and Mr. Joshi, spoke of the need to be united to bring the party back to power while daring the Opposition Congress to name the leader under whom they would fight the polls.

A second time MP from Dharwad, 50-year-old Joshi is from the RSS stable.

Edging out former Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, Mangalore MP Nalin Kumar Kateel and Minister Govind M Karjol, Mr. Joshi won the race in what was perceived as strengthening of his hold over the party by BJP National General Secretary H N Ananth Kumar in the post-Yeddyurappa phase.

“Some blunders committed in the last four or five years have dented the party’s image and hurt the party workers,” said Mr. Joshi, who succeeds Deputy Chief Minister K S Eshwarapa as the state BJP president. Mr. Eshwarappa had resigned from the post earlier this month.

BJP would fight the elections under a “sober team and leadership”, he said, asking the partymen to face the electoral battle unitedly.

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