Thursday, May 09, 2013

BJP in Karnataka: Defeat foretold

New Delhi: When counting began on Wednesday morning, former chief minister and BJP vice president Sadananda Gowda said his party would get around 80 seats, conceding right at the beginning that the party did not expect to get back to power. It turned out that at the end of the day BJP managed to end with the tally of 40. The writing was on the wall as it were. The party leaders confided privately that the party willl lose, and that former chief minister B.S.Yeddyurappa, who had left the party, had irretrievably damaged the BJP's prospects. Senior party leader M.Venkaiah Naidu had admitted that party had lost due to internal problems but he did not anticipate the huge margin of loss. At the central parliamentary board (CPB), the highest decision-making body, meeting, former president Nitin Gadkari had deputed to be in Bengaluru on May 14 where the leader of the legislature party will be elected. A senior party leader from Maharashtra argued that the party could not be seen to be soft on corruption issues and it had to take action against former chief minister Yeddyurappa, and which led to the electoral defeat. He said that the party was willing to pay the price for fighting corruption. Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said that the BJP did not have a majority vote base of its own in the southern state. It had formed a coalition government with Janata Dal (Secular) with the agreement that the chief minister's post would be shared. After his share of the term was over, H.D.Kumaraswamy refused to had it over to the BJP as was agreed. So when elections were called, the people voted for the BJP in 2008 because they perceived that the party had been wronged. He said that the Lingayat, Yeddyurappa is a Lingayat, vote did not go to Yeddyurappa because chief minister Jagdish Shettar was a Lingayat as well. According to another senior leader, the party had paid too much attentiont to the issue of image and neglected the caste arithmetic. Yeddyurappa cut off the Lingayat vote source of the party to the extent of seven per cent, and Sriramulu, another breakway rebel, cut into the tribal vote source. The BJP ended with 23 per cent percentage of the vote which was not sufficient to ensure victory. The consolation for the BJP is that it did as well as the JD (S) did because at one point of time it looked as though the BJP would be relegated to the third position, behind the JD (S). At the end of day, BJP and JD (S) have 40 seats each. Yeddyurappa's Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) has not even reached double digits, winning just eight seats. It was clear that Yeddyurappa would not be be win on his own but that he was content to inflict irreperable damage to the BJP, and that he has managed to do.

2 comments:

pro_scribe said...

While the crash-landing in its first Southern outpost would have been dispiriting, it's the takeaway from the Karnataka debacle that has wider political implications. The immediate upshot; the purported Modi Magic doesn't seem to work outside Gujarat. Modi-skeptics within the BJP must be smirking. His vocal social network fanbase fast needs a whole new spin.

Ambreesh Mishra

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