Bangalore: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi will be campaigning for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Bangalore on Sunday. He will be addressing just one rally this time, unlike the last state elections in 2008, when the BJP leader was a star campaigner of the party.
Protests are also expected to take place in Bangalore against Modi's rally. Asked by reporters why the party is not fully utilising the services of Modi for campaigning, BJP President Prahlad Joshi said he would discuss with him regarding "the remaining dates" (of his campaigning in Karnataka). But a party source said barring the rally slated to be held on the sprawling National College grounds in Bangalore on Sunday, Modi is unlikely to spend more time in Karnataka for campaigning.
BJP President Rajnath Singh, party stalwart LK Advani and Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj have already campaigned in the state, while Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley played a key role in finalising the party's poll strategy and manifesto-drafting. But the question in some quarters is about Modi's campaigning - will it be "minimum" or "full-fledged" is something that's keenly looked forward to.
At a campaign-kick-off rally in Bangalore earlier in April, state BJP leaders, including Joshi, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and senior party functionary HN Ananth Kumar, insisted Modi has expressed willingness to tour extensively and be at the party's disposal as far as election canvassing is concerned. There has also been a strong demand from sections of BJP candidates to get the Gujarat strongman to campaign in their segments.
According to some party officials, Modi might be reluctant to conduct a full-fledged campaigning in Karnataka, where the BJP is seen to be in not-so-strong-wicket, saddled as it is with anti-incumbency factor and a five-year-rule marked by scams, scandals and intra-party fights.
(With Additional Inputs From PTI)