Facing a daunting task of leading the ruling BJP in the May five Assembly polls in Karnataka, Lok Sabha member Prahlad Joshi on Saturday took over as the state chief admitting that the party's image had been dented by "some blunders" in the last five years.
BJP leaders, including Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar and Joshi, spoke of the need to be united to bring the party back to power while daring the Opposition Congress to name the leader under whom they would fight the polls.
A second time MP from Dharwad, 50-year-old Joshi is from the RSS stable.
Edging out former Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, Mangalore MP Nalin Kumar Kateel and Minister Govind M Karjol, Joshi won the race in what was perceived as strengthening of his hold over the party by BJP National General Secretary H N Ananth Kumar in the post Yeddyurappa phase.
"Some blunders committed in the last four or five years have dented the party's image and hurt the party workers," said Joshi, who succeeds Deputy Chief Minister K S Eshwarapa as the state BJP President. Eshwarappa had resigned from the post earlier this month.
He said a section of party workers feel justice had not been done to them just to placate "someone or his autocratic nature", an apparent dig at former party strongman and Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, but added it would be undone.
BJP would fight the elections under a "sober team and leadership", he said, asking the partymen to face the electoral battle unitedly.
Shettar said Joshi was leading the party in a crucial electoral battle and BJP would bounce back to power with absolute majority despite negative projections, as "other parties don't count at all."
The Congress lacked leadership, he said and challenged it to name who would lead it in the elections. People would also teach a lesson to those who walked out of BJP for "petty reasons", he said, apparently referring to Yeddyurappa.