The BJP has formed three teams, led by senior leaders to travel across Karnataka from Tuesday, to prepare the ground for the state assembly elections next year, party strongman and former chief minister BS Yediyurappa said on Monday.
Making an appeal to end the flare-up of communal issues in the state, he said Hindus and Muslims should lead their lives as “children of one mother.”
“From April 12 to 24, in three teams, we will be traveling across the state. BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel will be in the first team, our national general secretary (Arun Singh) and I will be together in the second team and Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai will be in the third team, “Mr Yediyurappa said.
Talking to reporters in Bengaluru, he said this tour is aimed at strengthening the party, holding discussions with party workers for drawing up strategies and preparing for the polls.
“Such tours will continue here … in the first phase we will be traveling in three teams,” he added.
BJP sources in Delhi said every team will have seven to eight members. Besides Mr Yediyurappa, national general secretary CT Ravi, former chief ministers Sadanand Gowda and Jagdish Shettar, Union minister Pralhad Joshi, and state ministers Eshwarappa and R Ashok, among others, will be part of the teams, they said.
BJP president JP Nadda will also be spending a couple of days in the state.
Each of the three teams, which will have ministers, MLAs and other leaders, will visit different regions of the state for the exercise.
The team members will be spending at least two days in different areas so as to ensure that the feedback exercise is comprehensive, the sources said.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, during his visit to the state earlier this month, had set a target of 150 seats (in the 225-member assembly) for Karnataka BJP leaders for the 2023 elections.
Amid the recent flare-up in communal issues in the state, the BJP central leadership has also asked leaders of its Karnataka unit and ministers to bring the developmental agenda to the fore and showcase the achievements of the government in view of the polls, sources said. .
Stating that Hindus and Muslims should lead their lives as children of one mother, Mr Yediyurappa, in response to a question, asserted that the chief minister has said the government will not tolerate such (flare-up in communal issues) things and has warned mischief -makers, who try to disturb peace, of stern action.
“We have to live together and see to it that such incidents don’t repeat here … let’s stop all these and do our jobs. Muslims should also lead a peaceful and respectful life,” he added.
There have been a series of communal issues that have rocked the state in the past few months.
It started with the hijab row followed by calls to ban Muslim traders from Hindu religious fairs, and then a campaign to boycott halal meat and shutting down of loudspeakers at mosques.
Hitting out at Congress leaders for protesting against price rise, Mr Yediyurappa said as the chief minister has also stated, the price rise is nothing compared to the surge that was during the Congress’ tenure and the opposition party was indulging in such things, as they don’t have any other issues.
“… we will all have to work together for the development of the state. Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar (Congress leaders) should not cause confusion on such issues,” he said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)