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Karnataka only hope down south.

KARNATAKA is emerging as the only hope for the BJP in south India in the next parliamentary elections as the party's presence in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala is negligible. However, even in Karnataka, the BJP may be in for a shock if the party's central leadership does not take a stand on former chief minister B. S. Yeddyurappa, who is knocking on its doors seeking a reentry.

As many as five sitting MPs of the total 13 want Yeddyurappa to return to the BJP. They have even declared that they will not seek a re- election if Yeddy is not accommodated.

The BJP has set a target of 20- 22 MP seats from Karnataka. However, that appears to be a daunting task, as the ruling Congress too is emerging powerful. There are 28 parliamentary constituencies in Karnataka and the Congress is also targeting 20+ seats. The Congress government in Karnataka has announced several schemes which have become popular among the voters. " It is a wishful thinking by the Congress and the BJP. But crossing the 15- seat mark will be a challenge for both national parties. The BJP might be under the impression that the Modi magic might work in Karnataka. Yes, Modi might hold sway over urban voters. But in as many as 22 constituencies, rural voters are decisive.

I am not sure if the BJP has a strategy to link rural voters to Modi," political historian Dr A. Veerappa said.

The neighbouring Andhra Pradesh is yet to recover from the decision to split the state. The BJP, in the absence of a strong local mandate in AP, is unlikely to benefit from the controversy over splitting the state.

Going by the current trend, the BJP is also unlikely to even win a seat in Tamil Nadu ( 39 constituencies) or Kerala ( 20 constituencies). Besides, the BJP has not attached much importance to either states, as the regional parties hold sway over the voters.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Nov 6, 2013
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