The recent assembly polls in Karnataka had the BJP on the defensive, as Congress and JD(S) threw allegations of corruption at them. However, the repeated visits of PM Modi to the state have changed the mood and given a boost to the saffron party. The allegations made against the BJP, such as the 40% commission allegations, had gained traction as Congress promised free power, cash benefits for women, and free rice to poor families. Despite this, Modi’s emphasis on development projects and his whirlwind tours have helped the BJP regain lost ground, though they still face strong anti-incumbency.
PM Modi’s recent visit to launch the Mysuru-Bengaluru expressway and the new IIT at Dharwad, among other developmental works, is an example of how his visits are making a difference. This was Modi’s sixth visit to Karnataka since January, and BJP MLA Aravind Bellad believes the response in the state shows he has won the hearts of people. Aware that Modi can tilt the scales, the BJP has strategically organized his programs in different parts of the state, and they are now thrilled with the overwhelming response received in Mandya, Dharwad, Belagavi, Mangaluru, Bidar, and Mysuru.
Bellad believes Modi is a big force in the party, and the more visits he makes to Karnataka, the better it is for the party. By heaping praise on former chief minister BS Yediyurappa during his visit to Shivamogga, the PM has deprived rival parties of an issue to target the BJP. He has also constantly stressed on development through a double-engine government and targeted Congress and JD(S) for indulging in petty politics. However, some political analysts feel Modi may have to make “at least a dozen more” visits to undo the damage done by state BJP functionaries.
Despite the enthusiasm generated among the public through his roadshows, Modi has still not been able to erase the negative image of the state government and Karnataka BJP, according to political analyst Prof Ravindra Reshme. While Modi’s public speeches established an emotional connect with the audience, these sentiments were absent from the public discourse of frontline state BJP functionaries. Political commentator Vishwas Shetty believes Modi needs to make at least a dozen visits to the state to undo the damage done by the state government and state party functionaries.
In conclusion, PM Modi’s successive visits to Karnataka have helped the BJP regain lost ground and given them a much-needed boost. His emphasis on development projects has helped the party’s cause, and he has deprived rival parties of issues to target the BJP. While Modi’s visits have generated enthusiasm among the public, some analysts feel that he needs to make more visits to undo the damage done by state BJP functionaries and improve the party’s image.