BJP juggernaut rolls; Congress waits for primary

11:28 AM, Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Nalin-Kumar-KateelMangalore: With the announcement of dates of the polls — April 17 in Karnataka — the Dakshina Kannada unit of the BJP said it was intensifying its campaign even as the Congress — gripped as it is by its internal elections to choose the candidate — is taking it easy at the moment.

District president of the BJP Prathap Simha Nayak told The Hindu that the party had made elaborate campaign plans and was sticking to them. One round of booth-level meetings was already held. With the announcement of election schedule, the booth-level workers were hitting the streets, he said. “They are now going to the field.”

Mr. Nayak said the party’s campaign received a big boost on February 18, when the party’s prime ministerial candidate M. Narendra Modi addressed a rally here. On that day, the party made clear its intentions to field incumbent Nalin Kumar Kateel again.

Mr. Nayak said people were keen to cast their votes this time. Asked to explain, he said, “You know why. There are so many issues against the Congress and people want a change.”

While booth-level workers met in Sullia constituency on Wednesday, zilla panchayat-level meetings are on the cards. Before March 12, all village-level workers would have met, he said.

On the other hand, for the Congress, the announcement of the vital dates of the polls was almost a non event. “There is no activity,” a party functionary conceded. Congress’s district in-charge president Ibrahim Kodijal said the party would chalk out its campaign strategy once the candidate is known on March 9 when the primary is scheduled.

He said the party invited booth-level party workers for a meeting over a month and had appealed to them to ensure victory of the party. He said the party was confident of winning as it had secured 90,000 more votes in the 2013 Assembly elections than the BJP, though it was behind BJP in the last Parliamentary elections by about 45,000 votes in 2009. The party had fielded former Union Minister B. Janardhana Poojary against BJP’s Mr. Kateel.

In the Primary, Mr. Poojary is pitted against U. Kanachur Monu, a businessman and vice president of Pradesh Congress Minority Cell after the rejection of nomination of Harsha Moily, son of Union Minister M. Veerappa Moily.

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