Lack of pan-Karnataka presence proves costly for the BJP

It may have been so near yet so far for the BJP but its much-improved performance in the 2018 Assembly polls compared to 2013 across all regions can be attributed to its micromanagement election strategy. DH file photo

It may have been so near yet so far for the BJP but its much-improved performance in the 2018 Assembly polls compared to 2013 across all regions can be attributed to its micromanagement election strategy.

 The personal rapport of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the voters has also helped it emerge as the single largest party for the second time in 10 years.

 However, the party fell far short of its target - mission 150 - which was later revised to 130. The BJP has never crossed the magic number 113 on its own. BJP insiders said though the party put out its best, lack of pan-Karnataka presence is the prime reason for the shortfall. The party has virtually no presence in Ramanagar, Mandya, Chikkaballapura and could not make any further inroads this time.

 After a humiliating defeat in 2013, the BJP pulled itself together during the last two years and geared up its electoral machinery adopting different agenda and strategies for different regions.

BJP National President Amit Shah, who personally monitored the poll preparedness of the party throughout, put in place a micromanagement poll plan that included setting up of booth committees to setting tasks for party legislators, functionaries and workers.

The backfiring of Congress’ religious minority tag for Lingayat faith helped the party gain ground in North Karnataka with 90 seats comprising both the Mumbai-Karnataka and Hyderabad-Karnataka regions where it improved its position from a mere 18 seats in 2013 to 50 plus.

 In communally sensitive coastal Karnataka, the BJP has made a virtual sweep. Actively perusing its Hindutva plank, it launched a campaign accusing the Congress government of inaction against the killing of Hindu activists. The strategy helped the party make electoral gains.

In Bengaluru city, which accounts for 28 assembly seats, the BJP focused on development agenda. The party used infrastructure woes in the state capital, non-utilisation of funds provided by the NDA government as a poll plank besides taking credit for sanctioning projects like sub-urban rail.

The series of election rallies address by Modi across the state a week ahead of the polls is said to have swung at least two percent in favour of the party.

In the run-up to the poll, the BJP had at least nine parallel ongoing simultaneous election campaigns – targeting almost every segment of the electorate from farmers to techies to the urban voter.

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Lack of pan-Karnataka presence proves costly for the BJP

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