Bengaluru, Aug 12: Following the dramatic Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat, which saw his elevation to the Parliament’s Upper House, BJP chief Amit Shah turned his attention to the South, embarking upon a three-day tour to the Congress-ruled Karnataka. The agenda of the visit was clear: sounding the poll bugle for 2018, when the saffron camp aims to wrest yet another state from the arch rival – Congress.

Shah received an unprecedented welcome at the Bengaluru airport, with scores of BJP workers gathering to accompany his cavalcade to the party headquarters. Shah briefly stopped to deliver a speech at the roadside, promising the gathering of a Congress-mukt Karnataka in the near future.

“My aim is to meet every BJP worker. I have come here to plan the strategy for ousting this corrupt and oppressive government next year. Under the leadership of (B S) Yeddyurappa ji, no one can stop BJP from coming to power,” the BJP president said, amid chants of Bharat Mata ki Jai.

Shah further said that the success of BJP in the Lok Sabha polls shows that people of Karnataka have decided to vote against the “polarising regime” of Congress. “Any the way my party workers are working, it won’t be an overestimate to predict a landslide victory in 2018,” he added.

In the 2014 general elections, BJP had secured 17 out of the 28 parliamentary seats. Ever since, the popular sentiment reportedly grew in favour of the Narendra Modi-led BJP. However, intra-party feud between Yeddyurappa, the state unit chief, and KS Eshwarappa, the OBC leader, made a section of political analysts give weightage to the Siddaramaiah-led Congress.

According to senior BJP leader Suresh Kumar, the cold war between Yeddyurappa and Eshwarappa has been resolved for the common aim of ousting the Congress. “I think that has become an old issue now. Now the party leadership is united. Because we have the common goal of achieving the Mission 150,” he said, while speaking to NDTV.

BJP, which was reduced to 44 in the 2013 assembly polls, is hopeful of winning above 150 seats in the 224-member assembly. The party’s ambition stems from the act that Karnataka is only southern state where the BJP had formed its government.