Karnataka 2018

Karnataka poll to be BJP’s gateway to the south: Amit Shah

BJP president Amit Shah.

BJP president Amit Shah.

BJP president Amit Shah has said that next month’s Karnataka Assembly poll is crucial not just in ensuring another big State in the BJP kitty, but also as a gateway to the south. Karnataka is the only southern State where the BJP has held power in the past and enjoys a significant presence, though the party is also feeling a backdraft from a north versus south narrative.

Three issues

“I believe that there are three issues which are important in Karnataka. One is the development yatra under Narendra Modi, where Karnataka has fallen behind; the BJP wants to take Karnataka along. Second, after 1967, caste, dynasty and appeasement have affected the electoral politics of this country, and we want to change this to a politics of performance. This means development, and he who prioritises that should be given the opportunity to govern. We want to take politics to that level. Third, from the point of view of the BJP we are looking at this election as a gateway to the south,” he said.


Mr. Shah dismissed Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s reference to Chalukya King Pulakeshin’s defeat of “northern king” Harshavardhan while filing his nomination papers in Badami on Tuesday. “As far as evoking King Pulakeshin and Harshvardhan’s battle to remind Kannnadigas of regional pride, what about evoking the power struggle between the Wadiyars and Hyder Ali? Why is the Congress giving so much importance to Tipu Sultan?” the BJP leader asked.

Election for change

Mr. Shah also ruled out any deal with the Janata Dal (S). “This is an election for effecting a change. Except for one district, I have visited every district in the State, met my party workers and the people at large. Everybody knows this is an election that will bring a change in government, and that the Janata Dal (S) is not the party to bring about that change. The situation of an alliance does not arise; we are winning Karnataka with a comfortable margin,” he said.

On the 2019 Lok Sabha poll, the BJP chief said the party was on the lookout for fresher pastures and was working to a plan.

“There are 219 Lok Sabha seats which we haven’t won and we can win in 2019. In the northeast itself there are 18 seats we can win, there is Odisha, West Bengal, where we are the number two party now. In Telangana too there are seats we can win. We have been working on expansion, which is why you see so many BJP-ruled States. We will win 2019 with more seats, and not just a repeat of 2014,” he said.

Dismissing Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s campaign, Mr. Shah said the issues flagged by the party were not the ones resonating with the people of the State.

Pointing to the crumbling infrastructure in Bengaluru, Mr. Shah said, “Development of Karnataka is stuck in Bengaluru traffic.”

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Printable version | May 19, 2022 3:31:30 am | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/karnataka-2018/karnataka-poll-to-be-bjps-gateway-to-the-south-amit-shah/article23662261.ece