BJP all set for Modi show

Bangalore, Oct 18 (IANS) The BJP's Karnataka unit, still smarting under the May electoral rout, is preparing to put up a grand show here next month when the party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi visits.

The Bharatiya Janata Party wants to mobilize half-a-million people from the state to attend a rally Modi will address Nov 16. Modi's November trip to Karnataka will be his first in his new avatar.

The party is yet to finalize the venue for the rally as it has to be held on Bangalore's outskirts as there is no ground in the city to accommodate such a huge number.

At a party meeting here Wednesday, various venues were considered but no decision was taken, state unit president Pralhad Joshi said.

The BJP plans to charge Rs.10 each for people wanting to attend the rally. Registration will be done by month-end across the state. There will be online registration facility also, Joshi said.

The state unit expects Modi to address eight more rallies in the state by mid-January, he said.

As part of mobilization for the Modi rally, the BJP will hold rallies in the main towns of all the 30 districts Oct 28 against the "failure" of the Congress government to provide financial help to farmers and to offer better support prices for various crops.

There will also be protest meetings Oct 24-30 against the government.

The BJP protests demanding the sacking of mining baron Santosh Lad from the council of ministers has fizzled out. Santosh Lad is information minister. He has denied the charges.

Thursday's arrest of BJP lawmaker Anand Singh by the Central Bureau of Investigation over charges of illegal export of iron ore will make it difficult for the party to again agitate for Santosh Lad's removal.

The Karnataka BJP is heavily banking on the Gujarat chief minister to put up a good show in the Lok Sabha election due next year. The party won 19 of the 28 seats in 2009.

However, the severe drubbing in the assembly elections and a split in the state unit have convinced the party that it will be difficult to repeat the performance in 2014 even with Modi at the helm.

Hence, the state unit is also working on the party central leadership to get back its former leader B.S. Yeddyurappa as he was largely credited with the BJP's success in the 2008 assembly and the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.

Yeddyurappa now heads the Karnataka Janata Party and has pledged support to Modi and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.

(V.S. Karnic can be contacted at vs.karnic@ians.in)

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