Express News Service
MYSURU: Elections to the 25 Legislative Council seats, slated for December 10, are likely to be one more test for Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and his predecessor BS Yediyurappa. The saffron party that won Sindagi and lost Hanagal Assembly bypolls recently has taken the Council polls seriously and has held a series of Jana Swaraj programmes across the state to realise its target of winning at least 16 seats.
A good show in the Council polls will motivate the party cadre to work harder in taluk and zilla panchayat elections, which could be held anytime next year, where over 60 per cent of the electorate exercise their franchise. The BJP has a point to prove that it is not an urban-centric party, but an entity that has roots in rural parts too. This will also set the stage for the Assembly elections in 2023, sources in the party said.
Union Home Minister and senior party leader, Amit Shah, has said that BJP would face the Assembly polls under the leadership of Bommai. But the party also wants to utilise the services of Yediyurappa and his influence with the Lingayat community to storm into the bastions held by Congress, especially in the Old Mysuru region.
For the Council polls, local leaders have approached him to tour Mysuru-Chamarajanagar, Mandya and Hassan districts. Yediyurappa has also asked them to focus on winning seats in non-BJP areas that could give a boost to the image of Bommai. Sources said that Yediyurappa is expected to strike a deal with JDS, which is fielding only seven candidates.
The regional party can give an edge to BJP in some seats as it would eat into the Congress vote base. BJP leader Appanna said the BJP lost the Council polls in Mysuru by a narrow margin last time. He is, however, confident this time that social engineering, grants and development works would win them the seat, t, creating history in Old Mysuru region.