B S Yeddyurappa is just the person that Congress needed to piggyback on to come to power in Karnataka. The KJP leader’s revenge agenda against BJP will help it tide over the severe anti-incumbency it faces in the state. Vicky Nanjappa reports
While many choose to see Karnataka Janata Party as just an offshoot of the Bharatiya Janata Party, its founder-leader B S Yeddyurappa disagrees.
A known fighter, Yeddyurappa appears to be the only man on the campaign trail at the moment. He has adopted a door-to-door campaign strategy.
Although Yeddyurappa has fielded 224 candidates, his primary areas of interest would be 38 constituencies where the BJP is strong.
In line with his revenge agenda, Yeddyurappa has decided that he would focus on these constituencies -- which are hardcore Lingayat belts -- to ensure that his former party is defeated.
The KJP leader’s agenda, though, suits the Congress the most. The party believes that if Yeddyurappa does manage to get most of these seats it would assure them a post poll tie-up with the latter to form the government.
The Congress, which sounds optimistic about crossing the magic number of 113, would fall short by at least 25 seats at the end of the election process. That’s because the party faces a severe anti-incumbency in these constituencies.
For the Congress it is very important that it makes up for these seats and the best option would be to let the KJP dig into the BJP’s vote share in the 38 seats that it is targeting.
Most analysts give the KJP around six to ten seats.
While it may not help the party much, it sure does help the other parties, especially the Congress.
Yeddyurappa would ensure that he eats into at least 5 per cent of the BJP’s vote share in every constituency.
The Congress does realise that the vote this time is more against the BJP rather than a vote in their favour.
There is no real Congress wave in the state and many are not even familiar with the party’s leaders.
The Congress is expecting a lot out of the smaller parties and Independents.
Their ticket distribution process has left more people fuming and it appears that the party would have a very disturbed campaign. There are sulking old horses in the party like N Dharam Singh, Mallikarjuna Kharge and C K Jaffer Sharrief whose kith and kin have not been given tickets. It is evident that these persons would try and do more damage to the Congress.
The state Congress does realise the pit-falls ahead and hence there is over dependency on the damage that Yeddyurappa would do to the BJP.
Yeddyurappa too, on the other hand, will play to the Congress. Both are very united in deciding who would battle important BJP leaders.
In Shimoga, the Congress would let Yeddyurappa have his way and would not try and field a strong candidate. The case was very evident in the Rajajinagar constituency as well where the Congress fielded a weak candidate against BJP’s Suresh Kumar and KJP’s Shobha Karandlage.
Former law and parliamentary affairs minister, M C Nanaiah says that the chances of the BJP and the KJP are very low this time.
The BJP for sure would be in the third place and the real fight is between the Congress and the JD-S, he says, adding that the KJP at the end of it is another split group of the BJP and will not do the damage which many are expecting.
Will these combinations work and how much Yeddyurappa could hurt the BJP to benefit the Congress. One would have to wait for the results on May 8.
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