BJP starts early work for panchayat elections in Karnataka | Bengaluru News

BENGALURU: BJP has launched early preparations for zilla and taluk panchayat elections as it aims to strengthen its presence in rural areas. The polls are expected to be held by the year-end or early in 2022.
BJP, often seen as a party with an urban base, is particularly focusing on the old Mysuru region, where it has not had great success. In a sign of the importance it is attaching to rural local bodies, party national general secretary and Karnataka in-charge Arun Singh travelled to Mysuru from Delhi to discuss poll preparations and ways to build support.
Singh, on a three-day visit to Karnataka, has taken on JD(S), which is strong in the region. He said that BJP was concentrating on its organisational structure and strengthening local mandal committees and morchas.
According to BJP functionaries, the party is laying the groundwork early as there are some concerns about the effect of BS Yediyurappa’s planned tour of the state ahead of the panchayat elections. A section in Karnataka BJP fears the visits might cause divisions in district units.
Another trigger for BJP’s urgency: there are reports that several MLAs from JD(S) may move to Congress before the 2023 assembly elections, making the latter stronger in the region.
State election commissioner B Basavaraju said that the schedule of the panchayat polls would depend on a court ruling. “The Election Commission is ready to hold polls. Pre-poll work, like revision of voters’ list and fixing of ward-wise reservation, has been done, but we are waiting for the Karnataka high court’s verdict on September 3. Three petitions were filed questioning the reservation and other rules,” he said. “If the court asks us to redo the reservation, then we may need another 45 days to announce the polls. In any case, they will be held this year, if the Covid-19 situation doesn’t turn grim.”
Singh said BJP was preparing the ground for 2023 by using the panchayat polls as a test match. He added the target was 123 assembly seats. BJP was the single largest party in three of the past four elections, but did not cross the magic number of 113 in the assembly. Political analysts say its poor performance in the old Mysuru region had an impact.
The party has been working to build its network in rural pockets, starting from the booth level. It has begun district-level meetings.

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