The Karnataka Verdict & Siddharamaih!

Siddharamaih would be the second Chief Minister from Mysore after D Devraj Urs and the first Kurba Chief Minister in the state since its inception.


It would be interesting to see his tenure as the Chief Minister and more so when his bete noire, HD Kumarswamy would be the leader of opposition.

The Karnataka verdict has dealt a deadly blow to many myths which prevailed upon previous assembly polls and it would be quite interesting to see how the new government goes about its mammoth task of keeping the set of tall promises it made in the Congress aparty manifesto.

First, it is perhaps for the first time that the so called caste equation was messed up in the Assembly polls.
The Congress party’s success also depended more on the’ negative vote against the BJP’ than their love and support for the Congress party which remained a divided house till the last moment because of internal bickering. At the hindsight, the defeat of BJP was more by” design” and the Congress party’s victory was more by “default “than otherwise. In other words they voted more against the BJP than otherwise because they had been

Second, the dismal performance by KJP was a crude reminder to all those political pundits as well as pollsters that the Lingayats did not stand by BS Yediyurappa despite his best efforts to play that card. The Lingayat votes got distributed three ways and at the end, Yeddiyurappa was shown his place.

Third, The voters of Karnataka don’t like’ negative politics’. That was proved loud and clears by the score of KJP. Yeddiyurappa wanted to” decimate BJP’ in Karnataka. That target was achieved but in the process, he got himself terrible mauled and bruised and with just 6 seats KJP would continue to remain a fringe player. That would keep haunting him for long.

Fourth, there is something very strange about Shimoga district. Some Politicians from Shimoga have always” rebelled’ on one pretext or the other. In 1994, it was Banagarappa who wanted to teach a lesson to the Congress party and succeeded in that task but at the cost of being on the fringe himself.
He went party hopping afterwards and ended in the lap of JD(S) before he died.

Bangarappa’s Karnataka Congress aparty won just 10 seats but damaged Congress party on at least 70 seats. The Congress could barely manage to get 34 seats in 1994 polls. Yeddiyurappa, on the other hand, has managed to get only 6 seats but damaged BJP at 71 seats and BRS Congress of Sriramulu walked away with another 4 seats. BJP which had got 79 seats in 2004 and 110 seats in 2008 ended up getting just 40 seats in this assembly polls and could not even retain its position as the principal opposition party.

Fifth, Bangarappa helped in heaping misery on the Congress in 1994 and that helped Janata Dal secure 115 seats while Yeddiyurappa has helped Congress get 121 seats in this round of 2013.

Sixth, the Congress party could have actually swept the polls and got
more than 160 seats. It had all the potential of even equaling the record of Virendra Patil under whose leadership the Congress could bag 178 out of the total of 224 seats in 1989 assembly polls. Ticket distribution mess in at least 35 to 40 places was the reason why the Congress party could get only 121 when actually, all odd were in its favour.

Seventh, even in Banagalore where the BJP had managed to get 17 out of 28 seats in 2008, the Congress party could have reached touched 20 seats. But the party shot in its own leg by fielding BL Shankar in Peenya Dasarhalli, Manjula Naidu in Rajaninagar, Prof BK Chandrashekhar in Baswangudi, Abdul Rehman Shaerif in Hebbal and MC Venugopal in jayanagar etc.

Eight, it was perhaps for the first time in Karanataka that the KPCC president had lost his own seat and that too by a huge margin of 18000 plus votes when the party won. KPCC President Dr G Parmeshwar was trailing behind his JD(S) rival Sudhakar Lal from the very first round. It was more like the captain of the cricket team running him out in the first ball. The only parallels in the recent past was that of Rajasthan President CP Joshi having lost by just one vote in 2008 assembly elections and Gujarat PCC President Arjun Modwadia having lost in 2012 Assembly polls in Gujarat. While Dr Parmeshwar has been playing his” sacrifice for the party’ card to get sympathy and rehabilitation by the Congress high command, the fact remains that he became a victim of his wown ‘ coterie’ or took Kortgere voters for granted.

Nine, it was also for the first time that the people of Karanataka saw ‘pappu paas and feku fail’. It was the first comprehensive victory for the Rahul Gandhi team since he became Congress Vice president and proved many senior leaders in the party wrong by putting his faith in Mistry and Falerio team. On the other hand, it was the second consecutive loss for the BJP after Himachal pradesh despite the fiery and fury speech of its Star campaigner Narendra Modi. In Bihar and UP assembly polls, Rahul Gandhi used to draw mammoth crowds but fewer votes. That logic was applied and amplified in reverse for Narendra Modi in Karnataka this time.

Ten, a very interesting part of this assembly polls has been that there has been no substantial increase in the vote share for the Congress despite the fact that it managed to get 121 seats. In earlier assembly polls, there used to be big ups and downs in votes share of various political parties. That has not happened in this assembly polls.

Eleven, there was lesser din and bustle during the elections .Unlike previous polls when driving across Bangalore city used to be a nightmare because of large scale cut outs, and all nook and corner of the city having been plastered with all kinds of posters apart from noisy processions and campaign trails, this assembly poll was relatively quieter and without any of those sparks and cracker cloud bursts.

However, the most notable part has been the selection of former CLP leader Sidharamaih as the Chief Minister. He has already served as the Deputy Chief Minister under JH Patel and is known as a good administrator. But his only problem is that he is known as a typically rustic kind of bumpkin who’s curt and rude way of talking and lambasting may not go well with the bureaucracy. His acerbic tongue has also been a talking point in his election campaigns.

That his elevation as the Chief Minister was logical anyway because of the defeat of Dr Parmeshwar. But Union Minister Mallikarjun Kharge throwing his hat in the ring was the surprise element in the whole drama. According to many political pundits,
Kharge should not have done that because he had done well in Delhi and he could have as avoided this kind of complication more so when the party needed to respect ‘ local sentiments and aspirations”

However, the Congress High command played the master stroke” by dangling the Railwys ministry bait for him’ and in the process, killed two birds with one shot. By making Sidharamaih the Chief Minister, it has ensured the OBC voters support in thre forthcoming elections and by offering Railways portfolio to Kharge; it has also satisfied the aspirations of the North Karnataka people.

In a way, this also makes the power balance between North and South karnataka because Kharge had successfully piloted 118 th Amendment (Article 371J) which gave special status to six districts of the Hyderabad- Karnataka region and that paid rich dividends in terms of Assembly seats.

Now,the people of that area could look forward to him for the completion of many railway projects and more development funds. In addition, the
OBC- Dalit combination would be very crucial for the Congress party to get more number of seats from Karnataka in the forthcoming Parliamenatary polls given the fact that the burden of Andhra pradesh would be passed on to karnataka which has only 6 Congress MPs out of the total of 28.

However, it would be early to comment on the success of Siddharamaih as the new Chief Ministers not only because of clearing the debris of five years of BJP misrule in the State would be a daunting task, he would also have to keep the faith of the Congress High command and prove his worth.


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