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Saffron surge in K'taka: Of gambles well played
Vicky Nanjappa
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May 25, 2008 17:10 IST

It just took certain key moves by the Bharatiya Janata Party to create a saffron surge in Karnataka in the assembly elections in the state.

Live Coverage: Battleground Karnataka

The BJP not only managed to keep both Congress and the Janata Dal-Secular at bay but also walked away with the honours in the state. There are various factors that helped the BJP sail through in the crucial elections.

Both BJP and Congress leaders agree that the announcement of a chief ministerial candidate was important to win the elections. Senior BJP leader L K Advani had, on various occasions during the campaign, said the Congress was fighting the elections without a captain and this would prove fatal to them.

'The BJP will break all records in Karnataka'

The decision to field a combination of Lingayats, Vokkaligas and the Backwards Castes proved to be a successful mantra for the party.

B S Yeddyurappa was the mascot for the Lingayat community while D Sadananda Gowda, party president and R Ashok took care of the Vokkaliga votes. Eshwarappa and Katta Subramanya Naidu were given a prominent role to take care of the backward class votes.

What Karnataka's results imply for national politics

All parties thought that the BJP would bank solely on Lingayat votes, but the party leadership decided not to tow this line and gave preference to all castes. A division of minority and Vokkaliga votes between Congress and the JD-S also helped the BJP to sail through.

Other factors that helped the BJP win the Karnataka election were the early announcement of candidates and also their manifesto.

How the Congress is losing more than just elections

The party announced the manifesto at least two weeks before its rivals and the case was the same in case of the candidates too. The BJP believed that by doing so it had a two week advantage over its rivals.

Moreover, the manifesto clearly defined the issues and the party also started the trend of releasing a separate plan for Bangalore and the rest of Karnataka. By doing so, they promised to address the problem of regional imbalance, especially in the northern part of Karnataka.

Karnataka win more credible than Gujarat

Another mistake that other parties committed was to give too much emphasis to the candidature of B S Yeddyurappa. Both Congress and the JD-S withdrew their candidates from Shikaripur to ensure that Yeddyurappa lost to Bangarappa. They felt the BJP would be defeated if Yeddyurappa lost. However, the ploy went in favour of Yeddyurappa as a section of the voters turned sympathetic to him and his party.

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