Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah on Friday said winning the May 12 Karnataka Assembly election is very important as it is the party's "doorway" to south India.
"Winning Karnataka elections is very important to us, as it is our doorway to the south of India," Shah said at the day-long "Karnataka Now Conclave 2018", organised in Bengaluru by Times Now news channel.
The BJP came to power on its own for the first time in Karnataka in 2008, but lost out to the ruling Congress after five years in the May 2013 assembly election.
Shah said that people's response to his campaign across the state over the past few months has shown that the masses are against the ruling Congress.
"The people of Karnataka are inclined towards BJP and we will win with a clear majority in the state. The ground reality is that people are against Congress," he said.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who is contesting from Badami in Bagalkot district and Chamundeshwari in Mysuru district, is "sure" to lose from both seats, he said.
"The BJP will win the election with a clear majority."
Siddaramaiah, who also took part in the conclave through video conferencing, called Prime Minister Narendra Modi's election rhetorics as "drama and gimmicks". He expressed confidence in the ruling Congress, saying the party will get a clear majority and form the government again.
"Our government has fulfilled all the promises made in our election manifesto. On several key development parameters, Karnataka has emerged as the No. 1 state in the country," Siddaramaiah said.
Countering the southern state's Chief Minister, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, who also took part in the conclave through video conferencing, said there is a wave of change in Karnataka and that the BJP is committed to building Bengaluru into a centre of innovation.
"I'm confident that BJP will sweep the 28 assembly seats in Bengaluru. The double-engine of BJP governments at the Centre and Karnataka will propel the state on the path of development," Goyal said.
City-based biotechnology major Biocon's chief Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, who was present at one of the sessions, said Bengaluru unlike other cities of India, was built using intellectual capital than money power.
"Every successive government invested in engineering education and the promotion of Information Technology and Biotechnology (IT and BT) sectors, but what has not kept pace with the growth brought in by intellectual capital is the physical infrastructure," lamented Shaw.