Old Mysore in Karnataka has traditionally voted for the Congress and the JDS. This time around, the BJP is making it their ‘foremost agenda’ to win its confidence and votes in this Vokkaliga-dominated area.
Over the last few decades, despite concerted efforts by both state and central leadership, the BJP has been unable to penetrate the Old Mysore region.
There are 59 assembly seats in this region, for which the BJP has won only nine seats in the 2018 elections. The BJP fell short of a full majority in 2008 (110 seats) and 2018 (104 seats).
Old Mysore includes the districts of Mysuru, Chamarajanagar, Bengaluru Rural, Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Mandya, Hassan, and Tumakuru and is dominated by Vokkaligas, who account for close to 16 percent of the state’s voters.
Vokkaligas are the second-most influential vote bank in Karnataka after Lingayats, and the BJP has not been able to win their support.
In this case, the party is going aggressive. In a multi-pronged strategy devised by the BJP leadership, Karnataka state leaders have been asked to activate and energise the local ‘karyakartas’ in the region, identify key voters and leaders from the Vokkaliga community and convince them to join the party. Additionally, they have been asked to keep a watchful eye out for disillusioned leaders of other parties who might be interested in joining the BJP.
During Amit Shah’s visit to Karnataka last week, as the state prepares for elections, party insiders told News18 that he has instructed all Vokkaliga BJP leaders, including CN Ashwath Narayan, CT Ravi, and Dr K Sudhakar, to camp in these areas and spread the national party’s message of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ among the local voters.