By Gouri Satya, Sr. Journalist
The electrician, who came to my house on Sunday soon after the counting of votes of the Assembly elections on Saturday (May 13), was eager to express his opinion about the outcome of the polls, as the subject was still hot and fresh. Referring to the Congress’ stunning victory, he remarked that their community voted in favour of the Congress. They had received directions from their religious leaders to back the Congress as, he said, the ruling party, which they trusted in the last four years, had let them down. Their defeat was their own creation (ಸ್ವಯಂಕೃತಾಪರಾಧ).
It was obvious from his remarks that there was discontent among Lingayats, as its prominent leaders including former Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, who had played a crucial role in building up the party in the State, had been deprived of the Chief Ministership for the rest of the term and sidelined, while Jagadish Shettar and Laxman Savadi, two influential senior leaders of the community, had been denied tickets along with nearly 20 others.
This disillusionment among the Lingayats largely benefited the Congress in scoring a stunning victory at the hustings. Savadi, for example, won by a huge margin of over 76,000 votes, defeating BJP’s Mahesh Kumathalli in Athani Assembly Constituency. Similarly, the saffron party was swept away in its stronghold of Lingayat belt in North Karnataka. The party which had 38 Lingayat legislators in 2018 could manage to win only 18 seats this time. On the other hand, as many as 34 Lingayats won on Congress tickets, while it was 26 in 2013 and 16 in 2018. The victory of so many Lingayat candidates gives credence to the remarks made by the electrician.
The results also reveal the consolidation of Muslim votes in favour of the Congress. Of the 15 candidates it had fielded, nine were elected. BJP had fielded none and no Muslim candidate fielded by the JD(S) was elected.
The BJP replaced many strong members of the party with as many as 70 new faces. The Gujarat experiment failed to benefit the party as could be seen from the results. It could have ensured the victory of some of its popular and senior candidates by retaining them in their Constituencies, but, on the other, pitted them against strong Congress leaders, like in the case of Minister V. Somanna, who was made to contest against former Chief Minister Siddharamaiah. Both Varuna and Chamarajanagar were outside Somanna’s home turf, Govindarajanagar in Bengaluru.
In an Assembly election, voters assess the State Government’s performance and elect candidates who are popular and easily accessible to them. In such a scenario, bringing outsiders to contest against the local candidates may fail to yield the desired result. This appears to be what happened in the case of the BJP. Voters were also disappointed over the lacklustre administration of Basavaraj Bommai. Bommai could barely match the two Congress strongmen,Siddharamaiah and D.K. Shivakumar. As a result, the leadership failed to effectively counter allegations like the 40% commission forcefully made out by the Congress during the campaign.
Besides allegations of widespread corruption, the BJP’s reign was marred by a series of controversies like the hijab ban. Issues like communalism and inflation were other strong factors that cost the BJP dearly. Take the price of an LPG cylinder, it is as high as Rs. 1,100 today, which is too expensive for even a middle-class family. Similarly, the prices of most household items have become dear, turning the anger of the people against the ruling dispensation. No surprise, therefore, the five promises made to voters by Congress, by handing over a ‘guarantee card’ to every household in the State, caught the imagination of the people, in particular the poor.
These and other issues like relying chiefly on Prime Minister for the party campaign led the BJP Government to a disastrous end. Its scoreboard nosedived to less than half of the Congress’ — 66 against 135.
It appears that this self-styled senior journalist and the cheer leader for the Wadiyars, for once has focused on the topic of recent elections, where the BJP was routed. His analyses are at best mundane and even they do not articulate the reasons of the BJP defeat well.
I suggest, Gauri Satya to stick to his Wadiyars anecdotes nonsense.
His assessments starting from his electrician’s opinion to others like the constituencies’ based wins for Congress, where the Lingayat votes were split between the BJP and Congress were all documented already by various journalists.
What as usual Gauri Satya has ignored, is the effect of Civid-19 Pandemic, which devastated the lives of many families, in many cases, remving at a stroke the abilites of reasonably quick restoration of their fortunes, as the cost of lockdowns and reduction of earning power hit them hard. In Wetern countries, the governments sepped in and supported their citizens through various means like subsidising energy price and ensuring the price hikes of essential commodities were controlled downwards, and reimbursing the salaries of people who had to stay home during lockdowns and unable to work from home either due to the nature of their jobs or their inabikity having struck by the Covid-19 infection.
What is different in Mysore , and indeed in India is the reckless callouness of Modi and his band of corrupt rich politicians in power at the centre, and in Karnataka ignoring the plight of people, leaving them to tend themselves. The voters in Karnataka considered the BJP polkiticians out of touch with the maladies that have hit ordinary families. Here the Congress stepped in, be it the padayatra of Rahul Gandhi or the plethora of hustings by Congress leaders-the single message was that they-the Congress have listened to the voter plights and are ready to support them whatever it takes-hence their 5 initiatives.is that the BJP is consigned to the Party of Hindi zealots in the Hindi Belt of North India.
the seriousness of this BJP defeat
The chane of governments in the West-whether it is in Germany or in Australia, is due to this ‘caring leftist concerns’ of the suffering of their people. Hence people in the above contries voted for the left-of-centre parties. In Britain, the out of touch rich son-in-law of Infosys Murtys , Rishi Sunak the PM, who does not know what the hike of the cost of living means, and, who thought that his money would keep him in power is facing massive defeat in the next year general election. His party has already suffered hard-hitting defeats in the local council elections-the harbinger for what is in store for the rich boy of Indian origin in the next year general election. Again, the ‘leftist concerns’ of the Labour and similar left-of-centre parties, which promised to help more, are going to trounce, the ruling Conservative Party, led by this Murtys son-in-law.
Corrections: chance , and apologies for some typos.
Hello Gauri Satya
Yedi was replaced by another Lingayat, Bommai, from the North Karnataka Lingayat belt, and he had a number of Lingayats in his cabinet. Besides, although, Siddaramaiah was the leader of the state Congress, it was the Vokkaliga Shivakumar who was the camapaign leader, and he did not hide his favouritism of Vokkaligas.
Hence, your very simplistic arguments of Lingayats defeats based on these prominent Linayat leaders being ignored do not wash, as for example, Shettar, who joined Congress was defeated. Lingayats simply did not vote for him in enough numbers.
Hence, your core analysys should have been focused only on the high cost of living and the Congress understanding the Voters’ misery and were ready to help with a package of support. Whether this package makes economic sense for the state did not matter. Indian voters like bribes, pure and simple, This package of support was a bribe. Voters were hammered with the corrupt BJP gobvernment, but yet, they were ready to vote forr the jailed money lauderer Shivakumar. Hence, the BJP government ‘s 40% commission message seemed to have only minimal effect.
Finally, I wonder whether you have no stock imaginative stories of Wadiyars and arguments about their rule, although the in reality the British rulled in India and Wadiyars were mere subordinates!
I cannot understand why the SOM is paying Gauri Satya to write ths article, with no insightful analysis.
His article seems to have gathered the arguments well articulted in the Deccan Herald, the Indian Express as well as in the Times of India . good opinion pieces. All, he has done to get his fee , is to cut and paste those pieces of arguments for the win of the Congress and the defeat of the BJp.
The one important aspect, Gauri Satya missed ( like he always misses the womanising habits of Wadiyars and hence some of them rendered impotent, not because of some mythical curse!), is the C?ongress taking away Vokkkaliga voters from the JD(S), reducing that party as an orphan as Mr Ganapathy put it. the JD(S) votes collapsed.
THe Congress should do well to keep the Muslim voters on their side. This may mean,: naming the Mysore-Bangalore Highway as Tipu Highway, and creating the Tipu Iniversity at Srirangapatna. Whether you like him or hate him- Tipu Sultan was an effective and efficient ruler through Purnaiah, his Dewan. That indicated, Tipu recognised the merit. The British seemed to recognise this, and hence they approved and in fact instrumental in the appointments of :Purnaiah, Sir K Seshadri Iyer, Sir MV and Sir Mirza Ismail as Dewans.
Tipu Sultan was as much the heritage operson as Wadiyars. Indeed, he preserved all Hindu temples starting from the iconic temple of Srirangapatna, to Nanjangud and Chamundeshwari temples.
Same person typing in different pseudoname and happened to be Sidda’s chela.. SOM should get hold of his ip address and ban forever.