Prime Minister Narendra Modi's election campaign in Karnataka is bound to boost chances of BJP coming back in the State (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@DDNewslive)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah are on a whirlwind tour of poll-bound Karnataka in a determined bid to retain power in the state, even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) released its well-thought-out manifesto that addresses national issues combined with the people’s needs.
After barnstorming the Old Mysuru regions of Kolar, Channapatna and Hassan, which are the Janata Dal (Secular) party’s bastions, and rounding off the visit with a roadshow in Mysuru city on Saturday and Sunday, the prime minister returned to Karnataka on Tuesday to tour the north Karnataka districts of Chitradurga, Ballari, Raichur and Kalaburgi and then proceed to the coastal region to reach out to the maximum number of people, ahead of the May 10 polls.
PM goes the extra mile
In the last Assembly elections in 2018, the BJP had emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats, leaving the then ruling Congress way behind, but the deficit of nine seats for majority had cost it dearly giving room for the JD(S) and Congress to forge an ‘unholy alliance’ and come to power by the backdoor. This time around, the prime minister appears determined to go the extra mile to ensure a comfortable majority for the BJP. Karnataka, which elected 25 BJP MPs out of 28 seats in the last Lok Sabha polls, reducing Congress to just one seat, is crucial to BJP’s parliamentary election game plan next year.
Addressing massive rallies, Prime Minister Modi termed JD(S) as the ‘B’ team of the Congress and it was a “private family concern” which was eager to join hands with Congress after the polls and “loot the state.” He told the people that JD(S) was dreaming of winning 15 to 20 seats and grab power in association with Congress as they had done in 2018. “They had fought with each other and made allegations against each other, but had no compunction to form a coalition government whose only aim was to make money for the benefit of the Gowda family and the Gandhi family. They only think about their own welfare and not that of the state or the country,” he thundered.
Speaking on similar lines, Amit Shah said the people of Karnataka had realised that voting for JD(S) meant voting for Congress and he was confident that this time BJP “will get 15 seats more than the halfway mark of 113” as people had seen the benefits of a double engine government.
Ridiculing the Congress party’s “guarantees” of 200 units of free electricity to every household, Rs 2,000 to every female head of the family and unemployment doles to the youth as “nothing but a hoax and people knew that it was like cheques drawn on a bankrupt bank.”
Return of UCC and NRC
On the other hand, BJP’s national president JP Nadda released the party’s election manifesto that promises implementation of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), introduction of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and formation of a special police wing to combat religious fundamentalism and terrorism in Karnataka.
The manifesto also promises to provide free cooking gas cylinders thrice a year on Ugadi, Ganesh Chaturthi and Deepavali and 500 ml of ‘Nandini’ milk everyday to BPL families. In order to counter the burden of price rise on the poor, the BJP government plans to introduce subsidised ‘Atal food centres’ across the state.
The manifesto also spoke of transformation of Karnataka into a premier hub for electric vehicles (EVs) by setting up charging stations, supporting 1,000 start-ups, converting all metropolitan buses into a fully electric fleet and creating an ‘EV City’ on the outskirts of Bengaluru.
Nadda said while the UCC would be based on the recommendations of a high level committee that would be constituted for the purpose, the NRC would be introduced to ensure speedy deportation of illegal immigrants. This is for the first time in more than two years that the BJP is bringing back the subjects of NRC and UCC which had temporarily been halted following agitations in some parts of the country.
The manifesto said a special police wing called Karnataka-State Wing Against Religious Fundamentalism and Terror (K-SWIFT) would be set up. This comes in the wake of criticism from BJP’s cadre that Hindu activists were not getting adequate protection in the state.
Prime Minister Modi and Amit Shah have also been stressing on how the BJP government through various Central programmes like prime minister’s krishi samman yojana, prime minister’s garib kalyan yojana and prime minister’s swasth yojana have delivered benefits worth several thousands of crores to the people at their doorsteps which had never been even thought by the previous UPA government.
They are hopeful that this silent ‘Labharthi Varg’ which accounts for almost three-fourth of the state’s population would vote for the BJP and return the Bommai government in the state.