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Why BJP lost heavily in Karnataka?

May 09, 2013 01:18 IST

By garnering an estimated ten per cent votes, former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa's Karnataka Janatha Paksha spelt doom for the ruling BJP and catapulted the Congress to power in Karnataka.

A preliminary analysis suggested that the Congress gained some two percentage points compared to the 2008 figure of 34.59 -- taking its tally from 80 then to 121 now.

In some sense, it has come a full circle as it were. In the previous elections, the BJP's vote percentage was nearly one per cent less than the Congress but still managed to get 110 seats.

BJP's vote-share is estimated to have slumped to around 20 per cent this time, almost same as the JDS, which had 19.3 per cent votes last time around, with both getting 40 seats each in the May 5 polls.

From 110 seats in 2008 elections to just 40 now, and reasons for the free fall are not difficult to explain.

Battered in Bellary and coastal districts, particularly Dakshina Kannada, besides yielding considerable ground in other parts of the State cost the BJP dearly.

In about 100 constituencies, Yeddyurappa's KJP and BSR Congress of B Sriramulu had chipped away its votes in no small measure.

KJP and BSR Congress have won a mere ten seats between them but the damage they caused to BJP's prospects in those segments saw to it that the Congress benefited immensely by default in multi-cornered contests.

Anti-incumbency factor coupled with perception about corruption allegedly involving some Ministers, and persistent infighting during its tenure leading to three chief ministers added to its woes, projecting the BJP's first government in the South in a poor light, overshadowing the development works.

In some sense, it's seen as a self-goal by the BJP.

Yeddyurappa vowed to demolish the BJP for what it did with him and he succeeded in his mission.

The Congress didn't have to do much as disarray in opposition ranks was certainly to its disadvantage.

JDS of former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda did try very hard to spread its influence beyond its stronghold of Old Mysore region. While it improved its tally from 28 in 2008 to 40 now, it was below 58 that it recorded in 2004.

JDS was hoping for a hung verdict where it could play a key role in government formation but that was not to be, as people clearly did not favour a coalition government, saw Congress as alternative to the BJP -- not JDS.

In a last ditch effort, BJP drafted Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for campaigning in Karnataka to swing votes but his "magic" seems to have not worked.

Modi also apparently hit the campaign trail hesitatingly covering only Bangalore. He came on a second leg and campaigned in Mangalore and Belgaum enthused by the responsive gathering in Bangalore.

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