In 2014 and the years that followed, Narendra Modi was invincible. Modi and the BJP would hope to keep that tag intact and for that, the BJP would have to win and win big in Karnataka.
The past couple of months have seen several ups and downs for the BJP. The party was all smiles with its impressive performance in North-East. This boosted the morale of the party workers, especially in Karnataka.
However, the defeats in the by-elections particularly in Gorakhpur and Phulpur dampened the spirits of the party. There was some consolation however on Friday when the BJP ensured that its 9th candidate won the Rajya Sabha elections from Uttar Pradesh.
While these ups and downs are part of politics, the BJP knows that winning Karnataka is extremely important. Not only does it bag the all-important large southern state, but it also sets the tone for 2019.
On Wednesday, analysts led by Sonal Varma and Nomura Holdings Inc said that the BJP was on the back-foot. These political vulnerabilities according to Nomura signalled that there was a 25 per cent chance of an early general election, probably in the last quarter of 2018.
Whether the elections would be held in 2018 or 2019 would all depend on the BJP's performance in Karnataka. It would indicate the mood of a large section of the voter and if the BJP sails through, then there is a good chance that the general elections would be held early.
Get, set, go:
The party is leaving nothing to chance. There is a blend of everything in the Karnataka election including the high-decibel Hindu nationalism campaign. In addition to this, there is hectic campaigning at the 56,000 booths. The party has assigned 7,00,000 volunteers at the booth-level.
Further, the party has added 7.5 lakh members to its membership base. In addition to this, the BJP has called in a galaxy of star campaigners. After being criticised for being anti-rural, the BJP has decided to make a big push in the agriculture sector as well. The party has assured that it would spend at least 15 billion dollars on irrigation, weed out corruption and also improve the law and order situation. The BJP is ensuring that it bags the farmer votes who account for 8 million.
Further, the BJP has also boosted its social media campaign. Scores of leaders have been assigned to micro-manage the elections apart from holding public gatherings. In the next couple of days, the MPs from Karnataka would hold a series of pressers to tell the people about how the Congress was demoralised as a result of which it was disrupting Parliament.
There are several factors that the BJP is looking at in Karnataka. The first would be to bag the state. Second would be to win big so that Modi retains his invincible tag ahead of 2019. Will the BJP be able to wipe the 132-year-old Congress party from the political map of India? Time will tell.
|Karnataka Assembly Election dates|
|Date of notification||April 17|
|Last date to file nominations||April 24|
|Last date to withdraw nominations||April 27|
|Date of polling||May 12|
|Date of counting||May 15|