With strong anti-incumbency fuelled by a wave of corruption allegations in Karnataka, the BJP is now banking on Prime Minister Modi’s popularity in hope of winning votes in Mandya – the region which has been the stronghold of its rival Janata Dal (Secular) or JDS for the election due later this year.
Mandya is one among the nine districts of the Old Mysore Region that includes Mysuru, Chamarajanagar, Ramanagara, Bengaluru Rural, Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Tumakuru, and Hassan districts.
The Old Mysore Region, with 61 assembly seats, is a stronghold of the JDS. The Congress has also been a major force in the area.
In 2018, the BJP did exceptionally well in coastal Karnataka and the Mumbai-Karnataka regions. However, it fell short of a clear majority in parts of the old Mysuru region and the Hyderabad-Karnataka region.
The BJP flagged off the Vijay Sankalp Yatra, the first among the four planned yatras among the four corners of the state, from the Chamarajanagar assembly seat. And now Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be holding his second roadshow in Mandya, which has seven constituencies, ahead of the 2023 elections.
During the previous election in 2018, JDS won all seven assembly constituencies in the Vokkaliga heartland – Mandya. However, the following year, in 2019, Narayana Gowda, who won in JDS ticket from the KR Pet constituency, defected to the BJP and won the 2019 by-polls giving the BJP its first-ever win in the JDS bastion. The BJP is now wooing voters with infrastructure development, hoping to convert that into votes.
While one may have defected to the BJP from the JDS in 2019, the BJP is hoping for winnable candidates of the JDS and Congress to join its fold ahead of elections, as it is scrambling for big faces.
Reliable sources within the BJP tell NDTV that “just ahead of elections, when the candidates’ list is being finalised, about eight to ten winnable candidates from JDS and Congress will be brought to the BJP and will be fielded from the Mandya, Mysuru, and Chamarajanagar constituencies. We are also banking on Sumalatha’s popularity to consolidate votes. Central Minister will be appointed to oversee the poll strategies in Old Mysuru Region”.
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