Ra­mana­gara Mess Leaves Kar­nataka BJP in a Sham­bles

BY­POLL RE­SULT ANAL­Y­SIS Saf­fron party com­mit­ted the blun­der of se­lect­ing a can­di­date loyal to the Congress

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

Bengaluru: It is not so much the re­sults of the Nov 3 by­polls that have shaken the BJP cadre statewide, but its poor judge­ment of the per­son it picked up as its can­di­date for the Ra­mana­gara Assem­bly seat against Anitha Ku­maraswamy, the JD(S) can­di­date, and wife of chief min­is­ter HD Ku­maraswamy. That the party com­mit­ted the blun­der in se­lec­tion of a can­di­date loyal to the Congress in spite of a 15-mem­ber core com­mit­tee over­see­ing its af­fairs has baf­fled the party rank and the file.

Two days ahead of polls, BJP can­di­date L Chan­drashekar switched over­totheCongress,an­dan­nounced sup­port to the JD(S), and the party is still lick­ing those wounds. “We are not so much wor­ried about elec­toral losses,but­goin­gun­rep­re­sente­d­i­nan assem­bly con­stituency as a na­tional party is hard to come to terms with,” a se­nior leader said.

Past trends have shown the rul­ing party usu­ally does well in by­elec­tions, and the lat­est re­sults are in line with these trends. In the by­polls held af­ter 2008 and 2013 Assem­bly polls, for ex­am­ple, the rul­ing BJP and the Congress later, had won most of the seats. That gave hopes to those rul­ing par­ties ahead of the assem­bly elec­tions. But in the elec­tions that fol­lowed, the in­cum­bents were voted out. “In Ra­mana­gara, we would not have won any case, but the way our nom­i­nee jumped to the ri­val camp re­flects poorly on the way our party con­duct­s­thecan­di­date­s­e­lec­tion­pro­cess. The in­ci­dent has de­mor­alised party work­ers in a big way, and the party na­tional lead­er­ship is un­likely to view this kindly,” a se­nior BJP leader said. “It is to be seen how the party is go­ing to re­vive the mood and in­fuse en­ergy in party cadres when the Lok Sabha polls are five months away,” he added.

As for elec­toral per­for­mance too, the party, un­der state pres­i­dent BS Yed­dyu­rappa, had over­es­ti­mated its clout with vot­ers. The party hoped to winShi­mo­gaandBel­laryLokSabha seats and Ja­makhandi assem­bly seat. The party, of course, knew it can­not win Mandya Lok Sabha and Ra­mana­gara assem­bly seats. Of the five, three were any­way held by the JD(S)-Congress, so Bel­lary LS seat was its real loss.

When­con­tact­edBJPspokesper­son S Suresh Ku­mar said: “Yes. The re­sults have hurt us morally, but by­elec­tion re­sults are no re­flec­tion of the gen­eral mood. In the by­elec­tions to Nan­jan­gud and Gund­lu­pet con­stituen­cies, the Congress won, but we won both seats in the assem­bly elec­tions in May.” He added: “We are con­fi­dent of com­ing back.” Se­nior BJP leader and Sirsi MLA Vishvesh­wara Hegde Kageri also spoke on sim­i­lar lines when he said his party did very well in the by­polls dur­ing the BJP regime in the state. “So, a by­poll vic­tory does not mean much,” he added.

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