BJP plans strategy to regain voter base

Vote share shrunk to 19.97 pc in 2013 from 33.86 pc in the 2008 polls

The BJP will work out a strategy to revive its lost electoral base, particularly its traditional votebank, ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

A meeting of the party top leaders to introspect on the debacle in Assembly elections held here on Wednesday is understood to have expressed concern over the decline in the vote share. The vote share of the saffron party shrunk to 19.97 per cent in 2013 from 33.86 pc in the 2008 elections. The sharp drop indicated not only anti-incumbency factor but also hinted at traditional voters shunning the party. BJP National General Secretary and Karnataka in-charge Dharmendra Pradhan attended the closed-door meeting.

According to sources privy to the day-long meeting, the leaders also discussed the impact of B S Yeddyurappa’s Karnataka Janata Party. It was concluded that the KJP scuttled BJP’s victory in at least 20 to 25 seats.

A large number of voters from the Lingayat community had not voted for the BJP in the May 5 polls.

The party held two rounds of meetings, one with all the defeated candidates in general and another with defeated MLAs in particular. As many as 60 sitting legislators including 13 ministers in the Shettar Cabinet are humbled at the hustings.

A few defeated candidates are said to have blamed the infighting among the leaders for the party’s poor show. Pradhan and party State president Pralhad Joshi are said to have asserted that the immediate task before the party was to revive its voter base. There was not much time as the Lok Sabha elections could be advanced to November, along with Assembly elections due in five states, this year. Incidently, the BJP had sent the largest number of MPs (19) from the State in the 2009 polls.

Former chief minister Jagadish Shettar is understood to have told the meeting to immediately start an aggressive campaign against the Congress-led UPA government.

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