In the run up to the 2023 Assembly elections in Karnataka, the BJP is specially focussing on the “Old Mysuru” region. BJP National general secretary CT Ravi on Wednesday, 28 December told reporters that the party has realised that without winning the confidence of people in the region, it cannot get a majority in the Assembly.
The BJP will go before the people in the Vokkaliga-dominated region, where it is perceived as weak, with development and Hindutva as the agenda, said Ravi.
Poor BJP presence
It is not for nothing that Union Home Minister Amit Shah is visiting Mandya — the Vokkaliga heartland and a bastion of the Congress and JD(S) — on Friday.
The Vokkaliga and SC/ST belt of Mandya, Mysuru, Chamarajanagara, Ramanagara, Hassan, Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Bengaluru urban and Bengaluru rural districts make up the Old Mysuru region in the southern part of Karnataka.
While the BJP has considerable presence in Bengaluru urban district, other parts of Old Mysuru are the saffron party’s Achilles heels in Karnataka.
Currently, the BJP has just one out of the five seats in Chikkaballapur, one out of six seats in Kolar, one out of seven in Mandya, one out of seven in Hassan, two out of 11 seats in Mysuru, two out of four in Chamarajanagara, and no seats in Bengaluru Rural or Ramanagara.
In Bengaluru urban, however, the BJP has 15 out of 28 seats. The seats that the BJP currently holds in Chikkaballapur, Mandya, Kolar, Hassan and parts of Bengaluru Urban are thanks to legislators who shifted from the Congress and JDS in 2019.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah is scheduled to visit Mandya on 30 December and Devanahalli in Bengaluru rural on 31 December.
Amit Shah’s visit to the state comes at a time the Basavaraj Bommai-led BJP government in the state has come under severe attack by the Opposition over charges of corruption and maladministration.
Shah — who will be arriving in Bengaluru on the night of 29 December — is scheduled to inaugurate a mega-dairy in the Mandya and address a public meeting there on 30 December, according to party sources.
“People from Mandya, Mysuru, Chamarajanagar and Hassan will attend the convention… Mandya would cease to be the fortress of the JD(S) and Congress,” said Karnataka Cooperation Minister ST Somashekhar
According to the minister, in Mandya, after opening the mega-dairy, Shah is scheduled to address cooperatives, where a memorandum will be submitted to him on doubling NABARD’s ₹24,000 crore loan portfolio.
Mandya — which used to be a part of Old Mysuru — is a Vokkaliga community-dominated district, largely seen as a bastion of JD(S) and Congress, where BJP is trying to make inroads.
‘Amit Shah is a good player’
“Amit Shah, like a good player, can give a good performance on any pitch. We are focusing on the Old Mysuru region. We have realised from the 2008 and 2018 elections that we cannot get a majority without winning the confidence of the people in this region. So, while focusing on the entire state, we will give special focus on the Old Mysuru region,” said CT Ravi.
Speaking to reporters in Belagavi, he said, the BJP will work towards winning more seats in Mandya, Mysuru, Hassan, Chamarajanagar, Bengaluru rural, Kolar and Chikkaballapur districts.
Stating that the BJP will provide people a report card on its performance, Ravi said: “Take PM-KISAN, for example. Hasn’t it reached farmers of the Old Mysuru region? Haven’t people of the region benefited from the Bengaluru-Mysuru corridor? The milk subsidy that farmers get was started by the BJP. Also, the Hassan airport, which was former prime minister HD Deve Gowda’s dream, is being implemented by the BJP. We have so many such things to tell people.”
Responding to a question on reservation demand by Vokkaligas to hike their quota from four to 12 percent, he said, “BJP is committed to social justice, we will find a formula where everyone gets justice.”
BJP has been making consistent efforts to make inroads into constituencies or regions where it is not strong, especially in the old Mysuru region, aimed at reaping political dividends.
In the 2018 polls, the BJP managed to win one seat in Hassan; later in a high-voltage 2019 bypolls, it managed to win the KR Pet seat, its first victory in Mandya district, and also won Chikkballapur, another first.
Creating a history of sorts, the party bagged the Sira assembly segment in the Tumakuru district for the first time in November 2020 by-polls.
(With inputs from PTI)