India Today

Modi's southern surge

The BJP's positive performance in Karnataka has paved the way for Modi and the party to deepen their penetration in the south, and countermand any losses in the north in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

It was the penultimate day of campaigning in Karnataka and the indefatigable Narendra Modi had packed in as many public rallies as he could address. His first meeting of the day began at 10.30 am at Bangarpet, once the urban hub of the famed Kolar Gold Fields. The mines have long been since defunct, but Modi knew how to work the crowd. "Kolar was once the king of gold mines in India," he said. "But now you have emerged as the raja of mangoes, silk and milk." As the crowd roared in appreciation of this recognition, the Prime Minister, and prime campaigner for his party, assured them that if they voted for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), he would ensure that the district would become the mango capital of the country by providing irrigation to expand production and rail connectivity to market their produce.

It was Modi's charisma and ability to connect with the audience (despite having his speech in Hindi translated into Kannada), backed by party president Amit Shah's meticulous constituency-level strategy, that proved to be the game-changer in the Karnataka election. Modi addressed 21 rallies across the states in

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