Bangalore, Dec 20: An exceedingly good show in Gujarat is the return of investment by Chief Minister Narendra Modi but it is going to have a positive effect in Karnataka, if the BJP leadership is willing to recognise it.
Karnataka was BJP's first triumph in South India. However, the party, in the last few years, has squandered the goodwill and support base. Now, the party is looking lost and uncertain about the elections due anytime next year.
The party has to take note of the fact that former strongmen of party in Gujarat Keshubhai Patel and Suresh Mehta failed to disturb the plans of Modi. Their party's dismal show has parallel in Karnataka in the form of BS Yeddyurappa, who quit the BJP and floated a regional party. After taking control of KJP, Yeddyurappa is threatening to destroy the BJP in the state.
To retain Karnataka and credibility, the BJP has to counter Yeddyurappa. For this to happen the party has to regroup their support base like Modi achieved in Gujarat. Modi overcame the scare of Patel community ditching him by gathering the support of backward class in Saurashtra and Kutch.
Since Yeddyurappa is trying to widen his support base by shedding his Lingayat leader tag, the BJP should be able to consolidate Lingayat and other community votes by projecting collective leadership under Jagadish Shetter, KS Eshwarappa and HN Ananthkumar. These three represent Lingayat, Kuruba and Brahmin voter base.
Conventionally, the Gujarat victory will lift the spirits of the BJP. However, instead of resting on fruits of Modi's success, his development mantra should be made central theme of the party's campaign.
What remains to be seen is whether Yeddyurappa will meet the same fate of Keshubhai Patel.