The BJP is hoping to swing the pro-tribal voters in its favour by projecting B Sriramulu as the star campaigner in the Karnataka assembly elections. The strategy is similar to what it adopted in North-Eastern state, according to political analysts.
After tasting historic victories in North-Eastern states like Tripura and Nagaland, BJP is now playing a pro-tribal card to attract tribal votes in Karnataka," leading political scientist Sandeep Shastri told PTI.
"Hence, it is projecting Sreeramulu, a tribal leader belonging to Valmiki Nayak community, as star campaigner in the run up to the assembly election," he said.
That Sreeramulu, considered close to mining baron G Janaradhana Reddy, has gained in importance became evident with the BJP fielding him from Badami against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, and also asked him to campaign extensively in the region.
The chief minister is also trying his luck from Chamundeshwari constituency while Sreeramulu has thrown his hat into the ring from Molakalmuru in Chitradurga district, a Congress bastion.
Another political analyst and professor of political science at Karnatak University Dr Harish Ramaswamy shares his view.
BJP faces a tough task of garnering tribal votes in North Karnataka, he said.
Sreeramulu has considerable influence in Hyderabad-Karnataka and Chitradurga belt and his main task is to ensure that tribal votes get transferred to the BJP from Congress, he said.
"It is a difficult job though," Ramaswamy said.
Shastri said Jain-Lokniti-CSDS Survey had shown a shift of tribal votes from Congress to BJP.
BJP expects to penetrate into the tribal support base of the Congress, including Chamarajnagar, Mysuru and Bagalkot districts, he said.
Shastri said though the tribal population in Karnataka was not as large as North-Eastern states and Jharkhand, they can play an important role in a keenly fought election.
Tribal communities have significant presence in 15 to 20 assembly constituencies in the state.
|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|