The state BJP is learnt to have zeroed in on six Lok Sabha constituencies where it could face a threat from the JD(S)-Congress combine if they decide to fight next year’s parliamentary polls together.
BJP sources said the party was worried about its electoral prospects in Bagalkot, Vijayapura, Belagavi, Koppal, Mysuru and Uttara Kannada and was working out a strategy to address the same. The party has sitting MPs in all these six constituencies.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP won 17 of the 28 seats. There are now two vacancies following the resignation of sitting MPs - party state president B S Yeddyurappa (Shivamogga Lok Sabha) and former minister B Sriramulu (Ballari) after they got elected to the Assembly earlier this year.
The party has taken the recent polls to urban local bodies as a parameter to gauge its prospects. Though the Congress and JD(S) fought the municipality polls independently, their performance surpasses that of the BJP. For instance, in Mysuru, of the 134 seats, the BJP managed to win 27, while the Congress won 48 and the JD(S) 43. Similarly, in Uttara Kannada with 200 seats, BJP won 85, Congress 87, JD(S) 8 and independents 20.
Sources said Yeddyurappa has prepared a report on the performance of 15 sitting MPs and also the party's prospects in all 28 Lok Sabha seats by collecting inputs from local leaders and party cadre. Shah and Yeddyurappa are set to discuss preparations and candidates for the Lok Sabha polls in the coming days.
There are other issues which the party needs to address before the polls. It is said that the relationship between Bengaluru (North) MP and Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda and former deputy chief minister R Ashoka, both from the Vokkaliga community, have soured of late. Ashoka wants Gowda to be shifted to Udupi-Chikkamagaluru and the ticket for Bengaluru (North) be given to his cousin A Ravi. But this would mean displacement of sitting MP Shobha Karandlaje.
The infighting in Bengaluru unit is said to be the reason for the party’s debacle in the state capital in the Assembly polls held in April-May this year.
The party will have to find a candidate in Ballari and there are several aspirants, including Sriramulu's sister J Shantha, former deputy speaker N Y Gopalakrishna among others.
Shah will visit Karnataka during the last week of September or first half of October to discusss preparation for the Lok Sabha elections with state leaders.
The state leaders have also sought that Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit Karnataka and address a couple of rallies in October to put the party cadre in poll mode.