Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s aggressive posture against the Janata Dal (Secular) and his keenness to make inroads in the Vokkaliga-dominated Old Mysore region has put the onus on the BJP’s Vokkaliga leaders in pursuing his agenda.
Mr. Shah, who publicly attacked the opposition JD(S) during his recent visit to Karnataka, is believed to have told his party colleagues to desist from having a soft corner towards any party, including JD(S).
This is being seen as a message, particularly to Vokkaliga leaders in the BJP, as several of them are seen as being ‘soft’ towards the JD(S). A large number of BJP’s Vokkaliga leaders are yet to individually evolve as leaders within the Vokkaliga community. This is being blamed for them not being aggressive against the JD(S).
Towards simple majority
A BJP State leader said that Mr. Shah’s focus on Old Mysore region was mainly to ensure that the BJP, which is falling short of the simple majority mark repeatedly, gets more seats on its own to prevent a scenario of depending on political defectors to form the government.
“It is a message to the BJP’s Vokkaliga leaders that they should be ready to take on JD(S) leaders. It is a message that the onus is on them to help the party to make inroads in this region where we are yet to get a strong foothold,” a senior BJP leader told The Hindu. “In a general message, Mr. Shah asked us to come out of the mindset that we may need JD(S) to form the government in the event of a fractured verdict, and that we must maintain cordial relations with that party.”
Following Mr. Shah’s lead, the BJP is keen to increase its tally in the Vokkaliga heartland of Mandya district, where it managed to open its account last time with Narayana Gowda winning the by-poll from K.R. Pet.