Mandya: Though the Congress party leaders and workers are buoyed by the success of the ongoing ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra,’ led by Rahul Gandhi and also joined by AICC President Sonia Gandhi, there is an intense discussion going on in political circles whether the success of the Yatra can revive the fortunes of the Congress party in Mandya district where the party had failed to win even a single seat in the 2018 Assembly elections.
‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ in Mandya district witnessed huge success on the first day (Oct. 3) and the participation of Sonia Gandhi on the second day (Oct.6) further galvanised party workers who accompanied her in large numbers. Congress supremo’s participation in the Yatra in Mandya district, perceived to be a stronghold of JD(S), has undoubtedly become a morale booster for the grand-old-party.
Mandya district was a stronghold of the Congress party, not long ago. Since BJP had no presence in the district, the fight was always between Congress and JD(S).
Over the years, the latter started gaining strength in the district and ultimately established complete supremacy. Now the Congress party, with the intention of regaining its past glory, has brought its President Sonia Gandhi to the district. However, it remains to be seen whether the party can actually gain from Sonia’s participation in the rally.
Congress’ good performance in 1999 elections
In the year 1999, S.M. Krishna, a native of Mandya district, was the Chief Minister (CM) of Karnataka. When elections for the State Assembly were held in the same year, CM Krishna launched his famous Panchajanya Yatra from Mandya and toured the entire State. In that election, the Congress party won 6 out of 9 Assembly seats in the district. Apart from CM’s Maddur Constituency, Congress had won at Srirangapatna, K.R. Pet, Pandavapura, Mandya, Kirugaval Assembly Constituencies. But in subsequent elections, the party started losing its ground.
Since 2004 elections, Congress couldn’t win more than two seats. In the 2004 polls, Congress performed very badly and won just two seats. Of the 9 seats, it could win only at Maddur and Keragodu.
The JD(S) performed much better defeating the Congress in 6 Constituencies thereby spreading its roots in the district and humbled Congress in its stronghold.
In the 2008 elections, Mandya district was limited to 7 Constituencies following delimitation of Constituencies. While Congress could win at Nagamangala and K.R. Pet, the JD(S) won four out of the remaining 5 seats.
Even in 2013 Assembly elections, Mandya and Malavalli were won by Congress and Melukote was won by an independent while other 4 seats were won by the JD(S). The Congress party recorded its worst performance in the district in the 2018 elections by losing all the 7 seats to the JD(S) by a huge margin of 40,000 to 55,000 votes.
But this time, the party is determined to win at least 4 seats in the district. District Congress leaders N. Cheluvarayaswamy and P.M. Narendraswamy ensured the participation of large number of party workers in the Mandya leg of ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra.’
Now, it remains to be seen whether the recent impressive show of strength of the Congress party can turn into votes and reclaim Mandya district back into its fold.
Today, the Yatra is on its Ballari leg.