February 18, 2014 11:23:01 am
BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi will address two election rallies in Karnataka Tuesday. The rallies at Davangere and Mangalore will be the first by Modi after he paved the way for the return of former Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa to the BJP in January.
Modi and the BJP faced a veiled attack from Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi recently for taking Yeddyurappa back after sacking him for corruption. At a rally in Belgaum Saturday, Rahul had accused Modi of doublespeak. He said on one hand the BJP had taken Yeddyurappa back while Modi was going around the country promising to eradicate corruption.
Yeddyurappa, who is considered leader of the dominant Lingayat community in the state, is expected to share the stage with Modi at the rally in the central Karnataka town of Davangere which has a sizable population of Lingayats.
The Mangalore rally is expected to be a Sangh Parivar affair given the strong network of right-wing organisations and members in the region. The BJP is hoping Modi will be able to rally its strong support base in Dakshina Kannada and surrounding areas to back the party wholeheartedly in the Lok Sabha polls.
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The party lost a lot of ground in the region in the 2013 Assembly polls winning only two of 13 seats as there was a strong sentiment against alleged corruption by the BJP government under Yeddyurappa.
Last year, despite Modi touring Mangalore many core workers expressed frustration over the happenings in the party and refrained from actively campaigning for BJP candidates, resulting in the Congress gaining an upper hand. The BJP support base in Mangalore is, however, expected to consolidate for the Lok Sabha polls with the Sangh cadre re-grouping.
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