The BJP in Karnataka is focused on getting its act right when it comes to Dalit and minority votes. Ahead of the 2018 assembly elections in Karnataka, the party is going the extra mile to change its anti-Dalit perception. In its first attempt aimed at cosying up to the Dalit voters, BJP leaders led by B S Yeddyurappa visited Dalit colonies in Tumakuru.
Interacted with Dalit leaders at Tumkur,carried padayatra in Dalit colonies,spoke about Dalit empowering initiatives taken by Sh.Modi Govt pic.twitter.com/j2xDiHyW8o— B.S. Yeddyurappa (@BSYBJP) May 18, 2017
BJP wants to steer clear of anti-Dalit image
The attempt is very clearly to build a pro-Dalit image of the party. Senior leaders of the BJP Ananth Kumar, D V Sadananda Gowda, Shobha Karandlaje and K S Eshwarappa led by Yeddyurappa inaugurated their Jana Samparka Abhiyana at Tumkur earlier in the week. In this 36-days campaign to 'meet the people' BJP leaders are all set to cover the length and breadth of the state to consolidate votes.
Campaign takes B S Yeddyurappa to Dalits
B S Yeddyurappa decided to visit Dalit colonies in Tumkur and interact with leaders of the first day of the program. The leader's social media managers highlighted that he was visiting Dalit leaders to create awareness among them about the initiatives taken by the BJP government at the centre to empower the community.
The compulsion to be inclusive
The BJP for far too long has been perceived as an anti-minority, anti-Dalit party. The loss in Nanjangud bypoll despite fielding a strong Dalit candidate like Srinivas Prasad has made the BJP realise that inclusiveness is the way forward. Yeddyurappa who led the campaign in bypolls of Nanjangud and Gundlupet was disheartened after the massive loss but this time around, he hopes to win the trust of communities that have not been BJP's traditional voters.
Is BJP on an overdrive?
Emulating party president Amit Shah, B S Yeddyurappa stopped for lunch at the residence of a Dalit leader. However, this visit turned into a controversy after news channel cameras caught food from the hotel being supplied. Yeddyurappa's office later clarified that the household fell short of food and had to make alternate arrangements for the huge number of people who had gathered. With these visits, garlanding of Ambedkar statues and holding talks with leaders of the Dalit community, Yeddyurappa hopes that the BJP will be able to make a dent in the Congress' perspectives when it comes to Dalit votes in Chitradurga and Tumkur.
Campaign brings leaders together
With K S Eshwarappa on the stage, the BJP attempted a show of strength at the inauguration of their campaign. Leaders like Sriramulu who have been the face of BJP in Dalit context stood by Yeddyurappa for the campaign. Tumkur, being the hometown of Karnataka Home Minister Dr G Parameshwara and Law Minister T B Jayachandra, is where the BJP started their campaign. The focus is clear, protect their own vote banks while attempting to win over communities that have not been traditional voters of the BJP.