Again, the figures first.
The BJP triumph in Karnataka was a commonsense conclusion. Only the most foolhardy could make a contrary argument. But we have them aplenty. Yogendra Yadav, the psephologist whose statistical impetuousness only equals his record number of failed projections stands tall in that list.
Watching TV for the better half of yesterday was exciting. The BJP’s lead surged early when the results started trickling in. The gap in the lead between the BJP and the Congress was a steady 30+ seats with the JD(S) occupying a comfortable single-digit position. The final tally surprised no one but the idiot news anchors (mostly the national news channels) who kept yelling in mindless (feigned?) shock. You can forgive them because they are far away from the battlescene but they must surely have some of the most incompetent field staff. The local news channels were more level-headed.
In an earlier post, I had noted that Deve Gowda & co has virtually gifted this election to the BJP. Within four years, the JD(S), riding purely on blackmail and extreme haughtiness has reduced itself to a nonentity. It is a failed business enterprise. As a certain Milind, a party spokesperson noted, the political suicide of the JD(S) was scripted by (Deve Gowda-blessed) the mass exodus of senior leaders. He understandably omitted mentioning the worst sort of rug-pulling his CEO indulged in.
The post-results debate was interesting. Across party lines, the Defeated attributed BJP’s success to exactly one factor: preparedness and work. A Congress leader observed that the BJP began preparing for polls from the day Yeddyurappa lost power. BJP leaders credit this success to Arun Jaitley’s orchestrations and some really dedicated groundwork by party workers. For the dirt on what went in BJP’s favour etc, “expert” analyses provide the necessary (but boring) meal. The Congress has only itself to blame as I had observed earlier. It lived purely on hope and amazing callousness. That it managed to garner 80 seats is proof of the triumph of hope over hard work. The focus of this post is to present an “on the ground” analysis of some interesting aspects of this election.
One marked outcome was the defeat of “heavyweights” and serial winners. R.V. Deshpande, Dharam Singh, (former Chief Minister, with an unbeaten winning record of 8 times to his credit lost by a margin of 612 votes to a fledgling BJP candidate), M.P. Prakash (former deputy Chief Minister, who walked out out of the JD(S) lost to a BJP candidate), H.K. Patil, Ambareesh, D.B. Chandre Gowda, Anil Lad, Chennigappa (former Minister), Cheluvarayaswamy (former Minister), and Vatal Nagaraj (a non-entity but known nuisance, who always won from Chamarajnagar). The biggest shocker was the defeat of former Chief Minister, S.Bangarappa who contested on the SP ticket. Known as the “undefeated King,” he was pitted directly against Yeddyurappa. The Congress and JD(S) did not field any candidate as part of a prepoll arrangement with him. Both parties threw their full weight in his support to defeat Yeddyurappa. Bangarappa failed to disclose where he would contest from. When he finally contested from Shikharipura, Yeddyurappa trounced him with an overwhelming 45,927 votes. Also, the BJP defeated both his sons, Madhu and Kumar with gigantic margins. As a news anchor remarked, Bangarappa’s cycle (his election symbol) has been punctured.
This points to an interesting but relatively surprising trend. The defeat of guaranteed winners in record numbers in their home constituencies lends credibility to the fact that voting was party-based than candidate-based.
The BJP still needs 3 seats to make the magic number. It should be easy for the BJP to sway at least 4 of the 6 independents to form the government.
As I remarked earlier, this is the BJP’s first chance in Karnataka. It is in their hands to ensure that it doesn’t become its last.