Sending a strong political signal on his first visit to the State after taking over the party’s national responsibility, BJP President Amit Shah on Wednesday called for ‘freeing Karnataka’ from the Congress.
He was speaking after laying foundation stone for building a martyrs memorial in Gorta village of Bidar district where about 200 people are believed to have been killed by the henchmen of the then Nizam for hoisting national flag in 1948.
“The lotus (symbol of BJP) has to bloom once again in Karnataka if people want to join the bandwagon of development,” Mr. Shah remarked. Accusing the Congress government in the State of inaction, he asked if “a single prominent pro-people programme” was taken up by the government.
BJP National Vice-president B.S. Yeddyurappa, in response, assured Mr. Shah of working unitedly to bring back the BJP to power in the State. Mr. Shah’s call gains political significance in the background of differences among Congress top leaders coming to the open on several occasions and the new governor assuming charge in the State.
It appears that the BJP has chosen to highlight the Gorta struggle hoping that reminding people about a piece of history that has emotions attached with it may snowball into a campaign helping its plans of strengthening its organisation in Karnataka and the neighbouring Telangana.
While the BJP chose the occasion of September 17 which marks the liberation of the Hyderabad-Karnataka region from Nizams rule for laying the foundation for a memorial, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to inaugurate it after completion on September 17 next year. Incidentally September 17 also marks the birthday of Mr. Modi.
Hinting that the Party has bigger plans for Gorta, Mr. Yeddyurappa said the Party MPs from the State would appeal to Mr. Modi to provide national memorial status to the proposed memorial. The hitherto-little-known village of Gorta literally turned saffron on Thursday as thousands of BJP workers who attended the programme sported saffron caps.
Though the Bharatiya Janata Party’s highest decision-making body, core committee, could not hold a meeting with its national president Amit Shah in Gorta on Wednesday, he is learnt to have asked the party state unit to take to “agitational course” against the alleged failures of the state government.
He is said to have asked the party leaders to go ahead with the proposed campaign against denotification of large tracts of lands acquired for formation of Arkavathi Layout in Bangalore. According to sources in the BJP, he told party leaders on the sidelines of the programme to intensify the campaigns.