Lok Sabha Elections 2019

BJP not finding it easy in Karnataka

The Congress-JD(S) combine is likely to roll over the BJP in Karnataka 

KV Lakshmana

The election results on May 23 will tell whether the arithmetic and chemistry of the Congress–Janata Dal (Secular) alliance has trumped Modi’s BJP in Karnataka, the only state south of the Vindyas that has seen the lotus blooming. Karnataka is the only state in South India where the BJP formed its own government and even today, barring Karnataka, it has little or no hope of winning seats in the other states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Puducherry.

That is why, for the BJP too, Karnataka becomes a crucial state, though in AP and Telangana, it would be happy if its prospective allies won at the cost of the Congress.

On April 18, half of Karnataka have voted to elect its 14 representatives to the Lok Sabha and the other half goes to polls on April 23.

The BJP has whipped up the issue of nationalism in the backdrop of Pulwama and Balakot airstrike and it does appear on the surface, at least in urban pockets of the state, that it was resonating with the voters. But, it is not to the extent that the voters will decide to vote solely on this issue of muscular nationalism as propagated by the BJP leadership.

Professor Sandeep Shastri, political analyst and pro-Vice Chancellor of Jain University, Bangalore, felt that Balakot has some impact in Karnataka but the bread and butter issues would matter more. The BJP’s top leaders and campaigners have succeeded in keeping the issue alive. But how much this issue will help the BJP in terms of seats is something very difficult to predict at this point in time, he said.

Professor PS Jayaramu of Bangalore University was sure that Balakot airstrikes had given a distinct advantage to the BJP, but he too refrained from hazarding any guess on the number of seats. It is possible that the BJP would manage to retain its seats or come close, he said.

Although arithmetic was clearly on the side of the Congress-JD(S) and if it all adds up in this straight contest between two political forces, then the BJP can as well pack up and leave. Since, there are bound to be some glitches and host of other issues at play, Professor Jayaramu visualises tough contests in most of the seats.

If we take Bengaluru and its four seats, the BJP will be under pressure to retain seats it won last time. Particularly in Bangalore South, the nomination of Tejaswi Surya, a young leader with strong RSS moorings, has split the BJP cadres and leaders of the constituency. How much of this dissidence has been contained by the BJP leadership remains to be seen. Veteran Congress leader BK Hariprasad, a resourceful person who can give the BJP candidate a run for his money, is contesting here.

In Bengaluru North too, Congress candidate and state minister Krishna Byre Gowda has caught the imagination of the youth and is being seen as a strong candidate. His opponent and BJP veteran Sadananda Gowda faces allegations of being an absentee MP.

It is in Bengaluru central that the BJP candidate sitting MP, PC Mohan is expected to romp home. But the x-factor here is actor Prakash Raj who began working in the constituency many months ago. What sort of a role he would play remains to be seen.

If we turn to coastal Karnataka, Udipi, Mangalore, Kolar and Chikkaballapur, the BJP looks strong on paper and could do well.

The election results on May 23 will tell whether the arithmetic and chemistry of the Congress–Janata Dal (Secular) alliance has trumped Modi’s BJP in Karnataka, the only state south of the Vindyas that has seen the lotus blooming. Karnataka is the only state in South India where the BJP formed its own government and even today, barring Karnataka, it has little or no hope of winning seats in the other states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Puducherry.

That is why, for the BJP too, Karnataka becomes a crucial state, though in AP and Telangana, it would be happy if its prospective allies won at the cost of the Congress.

On April 18, half of Karnataka have voted to elect its 14 representatives to the Lok Sabha and the other half goes to polls on April 23.

The BJP has whipped up the issue of nationalism in the backdrop of Pulwama and Balakot airstrike and it does appear on the surface, at least in urban pockets of the state, that it was resonating with the voters. But, it is not to the extent that the voters will decide to vote solely on this issue of muscular nationalism as propagated by the BJP leadership.

Professor Sandeep Shastri, political analyst and pro-Vice Chancellor of Jain University, Bangalore, felt that Balakot has some impact in Karnataka but the bread and butter issues would matter more. The BJP’s top leaders and campaigners have succeeded in keeping the issue alive. But how much this issue will help the BJP in terms of seats is something very difficult to predict at this point in time, he said.

Professor PS Jayaramu of Bangalore University was sure that Balakot airstrikes had given a distinct advantage to the BJP, but he too refrained from hazarding any guess on the number of seats. It is possible that the BJP would manage to retain its seats or come close, he said.

Although arithmetic was clearly on the side of the Congress-JD(S) and if it all adds up in this straight contest between two political forces, then the BJP can as well pack up and leave. Since, there are bound to be some glitches and host of other issues at play, Professor Jayaramu visualises tough contests in most of the seats.

If we take Bengaluru and its four seats, the BJP will be under pressure to retain seats it won last time. Particularly in Bangalore South, the nomination of Tejaswi Surya, a young leader with strong RSS moorings, has split the BJP cadres and leaders of the constituency. How much of this dissidence has been contained by the BJP leadership remains to be seen. Veteran Congress leader BK Hariprasad, a resourceful person who can give the BJP candidate a run for his money, is contesting here.

In Bengaluru North too, Congress candidate and state minister Krishna Byre Gowda has caught the imagination of the youth and is being seen as a strong candidate. His opponent and BJP veteran Sadananda Gowda faces allegations of being an absentee MP.

It is in Bengaluru central that the BJP candidate sitting MP, PC Mohan is expected to romp home. But the x-factor here is actor Prakash Raj who began working in the constituency many months ago. What sort of a role he would play remains to be seen.

If we turn to coastal Karnataka, Udipi, Mangalore, Kolar and Chikkaballapur, the BJP looks strong on paper and could do well.

IN the four seats of Mandya, Haasan, Tumukuru and Mysore, the Congress-JD(S) is supposed to romp home.

“There is some cause for concern in Mandya, but Haasan and Tumukru we are winning. There is absolutely no problem in Mysore too,” a Congress leader said.

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