Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan appointed BJP in-charge of Karnataka polls

4 February, 2023 | Vaishali Sharma

Dharmendra Pradhan National

Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister of Education has been named BJP in-charge of the forthcoming Karnataka assembly elections, which are scheduled for May 2023.

Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister of Education, Skill Development, and Entrepreneurship, has been named Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in-charge of the forthcoming Karnataka assembly elections, which are scheduled for May 2023.

BJP Tamil Nadu state unit president, K Annamalai will be the co-in-charge. The appointments were made by party president JP Nadda on Saturday.

The BJP will be fighting to retain power in Karnataka’s 224-member assembly, where the Congress is hoping that the just finished Bharat Jodo Yatra would tip the balance in its favour.

According to leaders with knowledge of the situation, the BJP has set a goal of capturing 150 of the 224 seats. The party has also ruled out forming a pre-election pact with the Janata Dal Secular (JDS).

Pradhan, who was previously in charge of Uttar Pradesh, received praise from the BJP leadership for leading the party to victory in the state during a period of intra-party factionalism. He will be in charge of shaping the election narrative in Karnataka, where the party has been mired in crisis after controversy.

The state made headlines for disputes such as a move to prohibit hijab in educational institutions, calls to prohibit halal items, and the use of loudspeakers in places of worship.

To counter anti-incumbency, the BJP leadership replaced party strongman BS Yediyurappa as chief minister in July 2021 with BS Bommai. The decision was not favourably received by the Lingayat community, which Yediyurappa represents. While the BJP has been attempting to appease the state’s majority caste group, the Lingayats, it is also reaching out to the Vokkaliga and Kurba populations, particularly in the old Mysore region where it wishes to bolster its presence.