BJP bets on SMK to draw Vokkaliga votes

BJP bets on SMK to draw Vokkaliga votes

BJP leader R Ashoka called on former chief minister S M Krishna at the latter's residence in Bengaluru on Monday. MLA Raju Gowda is also seen. dh photo

Former External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, arguably the BJP’s tallest Vokkaliga leader in Karnataka, will campaign for the saffron party to take on the H D Deve Gowda-led JD(S), which claims to have sway over the community.

BJP’s election campaign incharge R Ashoka, on Monday, met Krishna to formally invite the former chief minister to campaign for the party for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

“The BJP is committed to an ideology and we will draw votes based on that,” Krishna, 86, told reporters. “So it (campaign) will be based on ideology, not individuals. The only exception is that all of us want Narendra Modi to become prime minister again.” The BJP is likely to reach out to the voters of Bengaluru - in the Bangalore North, Bangalore Central and Bangalore South constituencies - by projecting Krishna’s contribution to the city’s modernisation.

Krishna, who was Karnataka’s chief minister from 1999 to 2004, is credited with the exponential growth of the software and IT services sectors with his policies. He quit the Congress in January 2018 and later joined the BJP. He did so saying Congress was “in a state of confusion” on whether it needed mass leaders or not.

“All three seats in Bangalore... people haven’t forgotten the good work that happened during my tenure,” Krishna said.

The BJP is expected to get Krishna to campaign in the Vokkaliga-dominated Old Mysore region.