On Tuesday, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged BJP members to look upon party president Amit Shah as their model for hard work and dedication, Shah was at work trying to translate the Karnataka election verdict into a success for the BJP.
He has spent 34 days in the state, travelling 57,135 km through 28 districts, according to party sources. Shah, who had prepared the party’s groundwork for the elections much earlier, has addressed 59 public meeting and held 25 roadshows. BJP sources said his presence revived the party’s zeal after it had lost two byelections last year.
Shah deployed leaders in every constituency to work at various levels, from collecting detailed information on voters and reach out to them with details of welfare programs of the Modi government. There were manifesto conventions to booth-level meetings to district-level meetings for this.
To consolidate the Lingayat support base, Shah visited a series of Maths. While local leaders did not always attack Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his ministers, Shah was unsparing in his criticism, including remarks like “Siddaramaiah government is not AHINDA (Kannada acronym for minorities, backward classes and Dalits) but Ahindu (anti-Hindu)”. This was aimed at keeping Lingayat votes intact with the BJP. To rally the community’s support, Shah did not rely solely on chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa, a Lingayat. Shah had taken over control of the campaign in April first week itself.