Once again dismissing the poll surveys, which predicted a hung assembly for Karnataka, the Chief Minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visits to the state would make no impact on the poll outcome. The 224-member Assembly expires on May 28 in the state where the Congress is now in power, with 122 seats against the BJP's 43.
The party's president Amit Shah has been frequenting the state for months, holding rallies, meeting religious heads, addressing community events and toning up organisational machinery in the run-up to the election. According to The Times of India, the prime minister will kickstart his election campaign from Chamarajanagar district, where he will address a public rally in Santhemaranahalli at 11.30 am. This visit, the political observers said, would also turn out to be a test for his popularity ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
After Santhemarahalli, Modi will address a rally at MGM College grounds in Udupi at 3pm and in Chikkodi at 6pm.
Karnataka home minister Ramalinga Reddy had blamed BJP chief Amit Shah saying, "For the past fortnight, the tapping is happening for nearly 18 hours a day".
According to the tentative schedule prepared by the PMO, Modi is also expected to address rallies in Gulbarga, Ballari, and Bengaluru on 3 May.
While the first rally covering 14 Assembly segments will be held on May 3, the second one covering the remaining 14 seats has been scheduled for May 8.
Terming it a lame excuse, BJP's spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi hit out at ruling Congress party and said, "Karnataka ministers saying their phones are being tapped by BJP is hilarious, this is nothing but a lame excuse for their impending defeat", Trivedi told ANI. The major national parties contesting the elections are Indian National Congress (INC), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Janata Dal and Janata Dal (Secular). As per the BJP's plans, these rallies would be attended by people from a cluster of Assembly constituencies around the rally venue.