But they seek another opportunity from the people for the party to correct the situation

Admitting that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka suffered because of internal bickering, senior party leaders — Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and former national president Venkaiah Naidu — on Sunday sought another opportunity from the people for the party to correct the situation.

‘Development not hit’

Mr. Modi, however, asserted that the crisis in the party had not affected development of the State. Addressing an election rally at National High School Grounds in Bangalore, he said that the BJP faced a similar problem in Gujarat in the initial days.

“But, we corrected the mistake and sought another chance from the people to prove the party’s commitment to the people. The electorate did not disappoint us. The result: Gujarat is the ‘most developed State’ in the country,” he said.

“When the BJP was in crisis in Gujarat, media pundits and various surveys predicted that the people won’t support our party. But the electorate belied their predictions,” he said.

He said that despite the obstacles faced during his nine-month tenure, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar had taken the State forward in terms of development.

“Karnataka received the ‘best developed State’ award twice from the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre, which is now criticising the BJP government,” he pointed out.

He noted that he had as much faith in the electorate of Karnataka as he had in the voters of Gujarat. “I am confident that the people would bless the BJP again,” he added.

Similarly, pointing at the “leadership crisis” in the Congress, he challenged the Congress to announce its chief ministerial candidate. The Congress should at least announce its chief ministerial candidate now. Nobody knows who it will be, he ridiculed.

Earlier, when the gathering showed reluctance to listen to the Chief Minister and BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar urging the Gujarat Chief Minister to deliver his talk, Mr. Modi intervened and convinced the restless crowd that he would address them only after he had heard both these leaders.

In his address, Mr. Ananth Kumar said that Mr. Modi, who presented his own model of development, would visit the northern parts of Karnataka on May 2. Mr. Shettar expressed the confidence that the party would get an absolute majority in the elections.

Before Mr. Modi, it was the former BJP president Venkaiah Naidu who attracted the attention of crowd addressing it in Telugu and English. He dubbed the assurance of corruption-free governance given by the Congress as a “big joke”.

Accusing the Congress of “ruining the country”, he recalled the development the country saw during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure as Prime Minister.

Criticising the Congress again for its dynastic politics, he said, “Dynastic politics is nasty, but it is tasty for the Congress.” However, Mr. Naidu admitted that the BJP too had committed mistakes in Karnataka and blamed “number shortage” for that.