Karnataka elections next year: Shah meets CM, top state leaders; Aware of the situation in coastal districts

Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a series of meetings with party leaders in Bengaluru on Thursday in what is seen as the first phase of strategizing ahead of next year’s Karnataka assembly elections, and to take stock of the sharp communal divide in coastal Karnataka, where three murders took place between July 20 and 28.

Shah was here to attend Sankalp Ke Siddhi – an event organized by the Ministry of Culture and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to celebrate 75 years of independence. The visit comes at a time when the BJP government in the state is on the backfoot, in the wake of the killing of a BJYM worker in Dakshina Kannada late last month by Sangh Parivar activists against the government and party leaders. In addition, there are allegations of corruption against the government.

While the BJP has not officially commented on the nature of Shah’s series of meetings with party leaders, sources indicated that they were meant to strategize for next year’s elections.

Home Minister Amit Shah and Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai in Bengaluru on Thursday. PTI

Among the top leaders who met Shah were Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, his predecessor BS Yeddyurappa, state Home Minister Araga Gyanendra, state BJP chief Nalin Kumar Katil and the party’s national general secretary CT Ravi.

State Minister Murugesh Nirani and ruling party MLA SA Ramdas also met the Union Home Minister.

Before leaving for Bengaluru on Wednesday night, Shah met Union Minister Shobha Karandlaje, an MP from the state, and Katil, with whom he traveled on a private flight from New Delhi.

The BJP is also said to be considering a change in the state leadership to infuse fresh energy ahead of the 2023 elections – Kattel’s tenure as the state unit chief ends this month.

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Shah’s nearly 20-minute talk with 79-year-old Yeddyurappa is significant as the BJP leader has been relegated to the periphery of BJP politics in Karnataka after he stepped down as chief minister and was forced to announce his exit from electoral politics after a failed attempt recently. To give place to his younger son B. Y. Vijayendra in the big party of state politics. Any move by Yeddyurappa to distance himself from the party could affect the BJP’s Lingayat vote base, it is believed.

The BJP is also keen to assess Yeddyurappa’s experience as a strategist in the run-up to the Assembly elections.

Apart from Yeddyurappa, Shah held lengthy meetings with Bomai and Home Minister Gyanendra. Sources said Shah was apprised of the situation in coastal Karnataka and the progress of investigations following the three murders between July 20 and 28 in the region.

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