By S Gopinath Reddy

Will the “long-term ground preparation and shock and awe”, the time tested campaign strategy of Modi-Shah duo, reap benefits for the BJP in the high-octane battle for Karnataka?

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi all set to launch his campaign for the party from Santhemarahalli in Chamarajanagar district today, “Battle Karnataka” has entered the crucial and final stage. The Prime Minister is to campaign for five days ..May 1, 3, 5, 7 and 8. In all, the Prime Minister will address 15 rallies.

Even before the Prime Minister landed in Karnataka, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah started a twitter war mocking Modi on his comments on corruption. In a series of tweets, the Karnataka Chief Minister reminded Modi of the corruption charges against Yeddyurappa while he was ruling the state and also giving BJP tickets to the clan of scam- tainted Gali Janardhan Reddy.

Both Modi and Shah had been adopting long-term ground preparation and shock and awe strategy in elections to several states during the last four years. Shah would prepare the ground by studying the local dynamics, caste equations, local issues at least a year in advance. The same strategy has been implemented in Karnataka. For the record, the BJP chief has toured all the 30 districts of Karnataka in the run up to the elections.

Now, in the second phase, the Prime Minister would step in, address a series of rallies and attack rival parties with his trade mark speeches to convert the fence sitters into BJP voters.

The only difference in Karnataka elections seem to be Siddaramaiah, who appears to have successfully converted Battle Karnataka into CM vs PM shielding Rahul Gandhi from the line of fire.

On his part, Rahul Gandhi too toured all the 30 districts in the state covering over 3500 kilometres, while a few more rallies are lined up.

Meanwhile, in a minor embarrassment to BJP, supporters of BJP leader and former union minister SM Krishna are campaigning for the Congress candidate in his native Maddur Assembly seat of Mandya district.