Political parties are now giving the final touches to the preparations for the Assembly elections in Karnataka. It is expected that the Election Commission will announce the poll dates later this month.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state started preparing for the polls much earlier to achieve its target of winning 150 seats.
The party high command has deputed veteran leaders to the state, who have been engaged in getting the election strategies implemented on the ground through a political war room.
The high command had appointed Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan as the election in-charge of the state in February.
Pradhan, who started his political career with the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), is experienced in making election strategies. He was earlier entrusted with the same job during the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh in 2022, where he ensured the return of the Yogi Adityanath government with a thumping majority.
Pradhan, who is close to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, had also played a key role in the 2013 Legislative Assembly elections in Karnataka, Bihar and Jharkhand, among other states.
Pradhan is considered to be adept in bringing the leaders of all factions on one platform and ending factionalism.
In view of this, Pradhan’s role in Karnataka is crucial as the party’s national general secretary C.T. Ravi and other leaders have opened a front against former Chief Minister and veteran leader B.S. Yediyurappa. The BJP is well aware of the fact that winning the elections will be next to impossible without Yediyurappa’s support.
The party high command also knows that the support of the Vokkaliga community would be necessary to get an absolute majority.
Union minister Mansukh L. Mandaviya of Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu BJP state president K. Annamalai will serve as fellow election in-charges and assist Pradhan in formulating a strategy by analysing the ground politics in the state.
Annamalai was an IPS officer of the Karnataka cadre and had served in cities such as Udupi, Chikmagalur, Mangaluru and Bengaluru before joining the BJP.
Popularly known as ‘Singham’ in many districts, Annamalai is known by the youths as well as the old and is popular within the Muslim community of the state, to the extent that many people used to protest when he was transferred to another district.
The BJP’s national general secretary and headquarter in-charge Arun Singh is already playing a key role in chalking out the election strategy. He finalised the framework of the frequent visits of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president J.P. Nadda and Amit Shah among other leaders to the state.
The BJP’s current national organisation general secretary BL Santosh is well known for being a skillful operator of an election war room and remains behind the scenes in the state’s politics.
His image in the state has been that of a hardline union leader and his differences with Yediyurappa are also infamous.
The party high command has given special assignments to 39 leaders in the state, including Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and Yediyurappa to help the BJP win and has constituted an election campaign committee of 25 leaders headed by Bommai.
Three former Chief Ministers of the state, Yediyurappa, Sadananda Gowda and Jagadish Shettar, Union Ministers Pralhad Joshi, Shobha Karandlaje and A. Narayanaswamy will also be in the committee and have been given the responsibility of designing the campaign.
BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel, C.T. Ravi and Yediyurappa’s son B.Y. Vijayendra, along with several MPs, MLAs, legislative council members and state government ministers, have also been included as members of the committee.
To manage the election, the high command has also formed an Election Management Committee of 14 leaders, with Union Minister Shobha Karandlaje as its convenor.
(This article has been published via a syndicated feed)