BJP feels PM Narendra Modi’s local play will boost seat tally by 20

BENGALURU: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s string of 21 rallies had a local element to connect with the audience which worked well in some places and not so much in others, leading to the BJP cautiously adding about 20 seats to its tally.

The state BJP has been pinning its hopes on a “Modi wave” after the RSS internal surveys reportedly said that the maximum the party can win is 75 of the 224 seats.

Prior to this, Modi did just three rallies in Bengaluru, Mysuru and Davanagere, which Congress leaders said “did not have any ripple effect.”

The PM, however, came back to Karnataka from May 1 to 9 and beginning from Santhemarahalli in Chamarajanagar district, addressed three to four rallies a day in different parts of the state.

“Elections are won only the last part of the campaign and that is why the PM timed his rallies towards the last leg. His rallies have boosted our chances all across and we think about 20 constituencies have turned towards the BJP because of what he has said and promised,” a BJP office-bearer told ET.

In some rallies, there was much cheering at what the PM said. A ripple effect and turning of constituencies is expected in parts of northwest Karnataka, where Modi spoke of intervening in the Mahadayi dispute with Goa and resolving it.

“Gadag and surrounding districts will now vote BJP,” Gadag resident Gurulingmutt told ET.

Modi spoke about division of the Lingayat community by the Congress government in the rally at Vijayapura, the home district of water resources minister MB Patil. Patil led the agitation to get the minority tag and is said to be facing a backlash in Bableshwar in Vijayapura district.

Modi also made mocking references to Sonia Manio, former Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s maiden name, underlining her Italian origin.

The PM addressed two rallies in Bengaluru, at the Kengeri satellite township and the BJP stronghold of Basavanagudi. He spoke about Bengaluru’s “burning lakes” (in a reference to the Bellandur lake) and of “Congress goodaism.” He accused seven Congress MLAs without naming them of bringing disrepute to the city.

In Belagavi, Modi spoke of how money was recovered from a resort in Badami, where chief minister Siddaramaiah had stayed. In Chikmagaluru, he referred to how former PM Indira Gandhi had won from this constituency in 1978 but “ threw dust in people’s eyes, took their vote and never returned.”