Bangalore/Ranebennur: Top BJP leaders LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Rajnath Singh on Sunday held public rallies across Karnataka seeking to give a big thrust to the party which is seeking a renewed mandate in May Assembly polls. Advani addressed meetings at Ranebennur and Davangere, Rajnath Singh in Chikkodi and M Venkaiah Naidu at Sindhanoor and Gangavathi in north Karnataka, from where the party draws much of its strength.
Swaraj addressed party workers in Bangalore. With central leaders descending on the scene, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, party General Secretary HN Ananthkumar, state unit President Prahllad Joshi and former Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda also addressed rallies in different parts.
The party is expected to get a further boost to its poll campaign with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi likely to pitch in towards the end of April. The upcoming polls are proving to be a tough challenge to BJP which saw three Chief Ministers in a span of five years in the first ever party government in the south.
Adding to its woes, the BJP government is facing anti-incumbency factor, graft charges and other issues. At his rallies, Advani warned indiscipline would not be tolerated and there was no question of compromise on corruption. '...within the party zero tolerance for indiscipline, within the government zero tolerance for corruption...," he said.
Without naming former BJP strongman BS Yeddyurappa who was forced to quit by the party central leadership on graft charge, he said the party would neither tolerate nor compromise on corruption. In her public meeting at Bangalore, Swaraj launched a tirade against the Congress-led UPA government for failing to curb corruption and terrorism in the country.
On developments in Karnataka where the party was plagued by squabbles and corruption charges, Swaraj said infighting was a bygone thing after the exit of disgruntled elements, apparently referring to Yeddyurappa and his followers. "This time I want to assure the people of Karnataka that the party has learnt a lot while governing the state and we will not repeat the things (of the past) and will give a clean and successful government. We need your cooperation."
Addressing a public meeting at Chikkodi, 70 kms from Belgaum, Rajnath Singh said Yedyurappa fell into a trap of his own creation and left BJP and erred in forming a new party. Singh said no one was bigger than the party and Yeddyurappa's exit would not make any difference to BJP.
He also expressed confidence about BJP getting a clear majority in the Assembly polls and said Jagadish Shettar will continue to be the chief minister for full term of five years. Singh said it was unfortunate that Karnataka saw three chief ministers during the 2008-13 period. Such occasion will not arise again, he assured the people.