The cream and pink villa located at Fairfield layout, an upscale, leafy locality near Chalukya circle in Central Bengaluru was devoid of much activity in the afternoon. The gates swung open occasionally to let police personnel breeze in and out. A metal detector had been placed right at the gate.
The BJP supremo Amit Shah had just moved in to the house on Tuesday midnight and a truck carrying furniture pulled over in front of the villa and unloaded the supply.
The metal tables were thoroughly frisked with a handheld detector before being let inside.
Two police vehicles, an ambulance and security personnel were manning the villa outside the gates.
The arrival of the political leaders seemed to have kicked up some bustle and activity in the otherwise quiet and exclusive neighbourhood.
It is from this 6 bedroom villa, located close to Vidhana Soudha, the seat of power in Karnataka, that Amit Shah will operate during this election season.
A source working closely with him confirmed that Shah will operate out of Karnataka for at least 18 -20 days, and live in the villa.
"He has done this during many other elections, most recently in Gujarat. He will personally oversee the campaign and intends to control the BJP campaign narrative ahead of the polls, by understanding issues faced by each constituency as it rolls out. Also, living in Bengaluru for two weeks or more makes sense as he likes to hold meetings until late in the night with district incharges, core committee members, stakeholders, internal teams etc. He will also minimise travel to Delhi till the polls in the state,” said the source.
Though Shah had a busy schedule on Wednesday, he started the day with discussions with BS Yedyurappa, who is the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate for Karnataka.
BJP leaders were reportedly searching for a house since 2017, as the government’s Kumarakrupa guesthouse, where Shah usually stays is out of bounds as per the model code of conduct.
For the Congress and the BJP, it is a do-or-die battle and both parties want to win this battle of perception. The Prime Minister will address 18 rallies, says sources close to Shah.
Though the BJP has been taking on Karnataka Chief Minister Siddharamiah with much fanfare, the party is worried about its prospects in some regions and Amit Shah will burn the midnight oil charting the party's plans here.
"There is concern about how we will fare in Hyderabad-Karnataka region, old Mysore and Bengaluru district. Most of the planning will be for having a better strategy in place here," said a source.
BJP had won out 12 of the 40 seats in Bengaluru district in 2013 and the party was hoping to increase its tally in the region.
Security for the leader included police personnel deployed by the state, VVIP security by the central government and private security guards.
“When he arrived there were about 20 to 25 cars. He left for the BJP campaign this morning and there were around 6 police jeeps accompanying him,” said one of the policemen manning Fairfield avenue.
“This Bungalow had been around for 20 odd years. It is owned by the Malpani group. Earlier, minister Murugesh Nirani had rented the house for a year. Now I heard Shah will be here for 2 weeks. There are police vans and ambulances stationed here,” said Mrs. Chamaria, who lives opposite to the bungalow and has been residing in the locality for 50 years now.