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'JD-S has given K'taka some of the best CMs'

M C Nanaiah
Photograph: KPN Photo
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April 30, 2008

The Karnataka assembly election is attracting nationwide attention. There are several reasons attributed to this -- the main being that it is the first election being conducted post delimitation.

Coverage: Battleground Karnataka

With 85 new constituencies being formed thanks to the process, the battle ahead is tough for all parties. They will have to deal with a new voter and a new constituency, thus making it is seem as if they are starting their political careers afresh.

What will be the affects of delimitation in the state and what can Karnataka expect from these elections? M C Nanaiah, a veteran politician from the Janata Dal-Secular and former law and parliamentary affairs minister of Karnataka, who has been in the political scene since the days of S R Bommai, spoke to Vicky Nanjappa about the political scenario in the state and also on the repercussions of delimitation.

Why do you think this election has attracted nationwide attention?

The main thing is that it is the first election in the country, which is being held after delimitation. Secondly, this election will have a bearing on the general elections. This election is most important for the Congress, as they are treating it as an indicator to the general election. When the country would go in for polls will largely depend on the result of this election.

What bearing do you think this election will have on the Bharatiya Janata Party, both in the state as well as the Centre?

The BJP will not return to power both in Karnataka as well as the Centre. The party has the confidence to fight the Karnataka elections on its own because of the 20-odd month rule it had in Karnataka. I feel that the voter will not take this into account as, let us face the fact, the JD(S)-BJP coalition was nothing but a misadventure and it was a combination of both secular and non-secular thoughts. The BJP, however, thinks it has bettered its position as it feels that it has gained political stability after its 20-odd month rule in Karnataka along with the JD(S).

What do you have to say about the sequence of events leading to these elections? We are talking about the political circus that took place when JD-S chief H D Deve Gowda pulled down the government a week after B S Yeddyurappa became the state chief minister...

As I said earlier, the JD-S-BJP combination was a political misadventure. The two parties were never meant to be together, as their ideologies are completely different. The BJP rule would have done no good to the state. Instead of calling it as a circus, let us say H D Deve Gowda called the shots at the right time and withdrew support to the BJP. It was necessary in the interest of Karnataka.

How do you think your own party, the JD-S, will fare in this election?

There is a certain amount of respect for the JD-S as compared to the other parties. The plus point for the JD-S is the rule of H D Kumaraswamy as chief minister for 20 months. He is considered as the best chief minister of Karnataka till date. This will work in favour of the JD-S and thanks to this factor the party will earn a considerable number of votes.

The people will also have in mind that JD-S has given some of the best chief ministers in the state, namely, S R Bommai, J H Patel, Ramakrishna Hegde and now Kumaraswamy.

But then opinion polls indicate that the Congress will scrape through with a majority�

With due respect to opinion polls, I do not think that one can rely on it completely. However, I feel that it is too early to predict the result of the election and hence, I would have to say that the recent poll is not a reality. Moreover 35 per cent of the electorate has not been taken into account while conducting the opinion poll.

Is there a secret pact between the JD-S, Congress and Samajwadi party?

Let me tell you that this absolute rubbish. If the BJP is making this accusation, then it only demonstrates their insecurity. It is very evident that they are afraid where Yeddyurappa may lose to Bangarappa at Shikaripura in Shimoga. Bangarappa is not new to that constituency and the voters are familiar to him. If he decides to fight from there who can stop him. Moreover, how can the BJP question the JD-S for not fielding a candidate over there? It is our discretion and it is completely a party decision, which should not concern the BJP.

How do you think that the delimitation process will affect the election prospects of the candidates?

Several candidates have been given new constituencies. It will not be easy as they will first need to get familiar with the voter. There is every chance of the elections being vitiated thanks to the fact that the candidate would adopt every method available to woo the voter. I personally feel that candidates will try and buy the voters, and this would mean that more money will be spent. It is the sensible electorate who will have to make a difference in these elections as these persons can neither be influenced nor bought over. I personally feel that this will be a very tough election thanks to delimitation.

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