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'Modi has lost the charm he had'

May 19, 2023 10:24 IST

'Corruption overshadowed Modi's roadshows.'
'As the BJP did not deliver any of their promises, people stopped believing him.'

IMAGE: Narendra D Modi, the Bharatiya Janara Party's star campaigner, at a roadshow in Bengaluru, May 6, 2023 for the Karnataka assembly elections. Photograph: ANI Photo

John Richard Lobo, who was elected a Congress MLA from Mangalore City South in 2013, could not retain his seat five years later, when he lost to the Bharatiya Janata Party's D Vedavyas Kamath.

Even though the Congress did exceedingly well in the 2023 Karnataka assembly elections, Lobo suffered a second defeat at the hands of the BJP, which swept coastal Karnataka.

The 70 year old ran a spirited campaign, with extensive use of social media, and polled 66,451 votes, but lost to his old electoral nemesis Kamath who polled 89,998 votes.

Lobo tells's A Ganesh Nadar that in politics and elections what work you have done doesn't matter as people vote with their emotions.


You had done good work in your constituency. You did poll more than 66,000 votes, but still you lost. Why?

One thing I have realised is that in elections and politics what work you have done does not matter.

It's an emotional decision. The votes were polarised. I don't try that. I treat everyone alike.

It is very sad that educated people are acting like that. It is bad for democracy.

What was the reason for the BJP's loss in Karnataka?

They did not deliver what they promised. The last one year there was no governance at all. Corruption was rampant.

People have seen that there was absolutely no development.

Why did Narendra Modi's roadshows not work?

Corruption overshadowed the roadshows. As the BJP did not deliver on any of their promises, people stopped believing him.

Narendra Modi has lost the charm he had a few years ago.

In spite of losing the state, the BJP did well in coastal Karnataka and Bengaluru. What are the reasons?

In coastal Karnataka there is a communal factor. Mangalore is the laboratory of Hindutva experiments.

The experiments done here are projected in the entire country. It is the laboratory of the RSS.

In the rest of the state, people are thinking about development, practical governance and everyday issues.

The language you use, the words you utter, people are observing and that is a good sign.

Do you think the BJP will try to topple the Congress government through allurements and threat of the central agencies?

I don't think they will do that as the Congress has a huge majority. If the Congress had won with a slim margin, then they would have certainly tried.

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/