“WE ARE NOT SO MUCH WORRIED ABOUT ELECTORAL LOSSES, BUT GOING UNREPRESENTED IN AN ASSEMBLY CONSTITUENCY AS A NATIONAL PARTY IS HARD TO COME TO TERMS WITH”
RAMANAGARA MESS LEAVES KARNATAKA BJP IN A SHAMBLES
BENGALURU: It is not so much the results of the November 3 bypolls that have shaken the BJP cadre statewide, but its poor judgement of the person it picked up as its candidate for the Ramanagara Assembly seat against Anitha Kumaraswamy, the JD(S) candidate, and wife of chief minister HD Kumaraswamy. That the party committed the blunder in selection of a candidate loyal to the Congress in spite of a 15-member core committee overseeing its affairs has baffled the party rank and the file.
Two days ahead of polls, BJP candidate L Chandrashekar switched over to the Congress, and announced support to the JD(S), and the party is still licking those wounds. “We are not so much worried about electoral losses, but going unrepresented in an assembly constituency as a national party is hard to come to terms with,” a senior leader said. Past trends have shown the ruling party usually does well in by elections, and the latest results are in line with these trends. In the bypolls held after 2008 and 2013 Assembly polls, for example, the ruling BJP and the Congress later, had won most of the seats. That gave hopes to those ruling parties ahead of the assembly elections. But in the elections that followed, the incumbents were voted out.
“In Ramanagara, we would not have won any case, but the way our nominee jumped to the rival camp reflects poorly on the way our party conducts the candidate selection process. The incident has demoralised party workers in a big way, and the party national leadership is unlikely to view this kindly,” a senior BJP leader said. “It is to be seen how the party is going to revive the mood and infuse energy in party cadres when the Lok Sabha polls are five months away,” he added.
As for electoral performance too, the party, under state president BS Yeddyurappa, had overestimated its clout with voters. The party hoped to win Shimoga and Bellary Lok Sabha seats and Jamakhandi assembly seat. The party, of course, knew it cannot win Mandya Lok Sabha and Ramanagara assembly seats. Of the five, three were anyway held by the JD(S)-Congress, so Bellary LS seat was its real loss.
When contacted BJP spokesperson S Suresh Kumar said: “Yes. The results have hurt us morally, but byelection results are no reflection of the general mood. In the byelections to Nanjangud and Gundlupet constituencies, the Congress won, but we won both seats in the assembly elections in May.” He added: “We are confident of coming back.” Senior BJP leader and Sirsi MLA Vishveshwara Hegde Kageri also spoke on similar lines when he said his party did very well in the bypolls during the BJP regime in the state. “So, a bypoll victory does not mean much,” he added.