BJP pockets Bengaluru again, puts up a better show
BENGALURU: BJP sweeps Bangalore again. The saffron party has retained all three Bangalore seats. This time, with a much better record to show than in 2014. The victory is sweeter for the party because it comes at a time when the Congress-JDS coalition is ruling the state as well as in Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
Being a cosmopolitan city, the IT capital has a mixed electorate. Bengaluru Urban has three Lok Sabha constituencies -- Bangalore South, Bangalore North and Bangalore Central. BJP has held on to them for the last three terms. The last Congress MP elected from Bengaluru was in 1999 — Congress’ Jaffer Sharief, former Union Minister who represented Bangalore North till 2004.
In 2009, Bangalore Central, carved from Bangalore North and Bangalore South Lok Sabha seats, was formed and P C Mohan from BJP has been MP since then. Like in 2014, this time too Mohan has defeated Rizwan Arshad of Congress.
In Bangalore South, BJP’s young rising star Tejasvi Surya (28) beat Congress’ B K Hariprasad with over a 3 lakh margin. The BJP’s choice of Surya came as a surprise to many, as it was against the recommendation of state party president B S Yeddyurappa. It was widely expected that the ticket would go to Tejaswini, wife of the late BJP leader H N Ananth Kumar, who had won the seat six times in a row from 1996.
In Bangalore North, BJP’s ‘ever-smiling’ D V Sadananda Gowda emerged victorious with a comfortable margin of 1,47, 518 votes over his closest rival Krishna Byre Gowda of the Congress-JD(S) alliance. This is his second victory from the seat. In 2014, he defeated C Narayanaswamy of the Congress.
In the 2014 polls, riding on the Modi wave, BJP candidates won by 2.02 lakh votes from Bangalore South, 1.37 lakh from Bangalore North and 1.17 lakh from Bangalore Central. This time, the victory margin is bigger. Congress, however, managed to retain Bangalore Rural. But the vote share had reduced. In 2014, D K Suresh won by 5.49 lakh votes. This time, he won by 2.06 lakh votes.
Senior BJP leader and former minister Suresh Kumar said many factors worked for them. The most significant one being that people wanted Modi government at the Centre as they had seen his government’s way of functioning. Secondly, there was no healthy alliance between Congress and JDS, which made their candidates’ credibility to come down. Thirdly, neither the JDS nor Congress was as well-organised and disciplined as BJP.
Their campaign started just a few days before the election, while BJP had a systematic approach right from booth level karyakarthas to the higher-ups. The BJP’s reach was not only penetrative but also widespread, which helped them win 25 of the 28 LS seats in the state, besides all three in Bengaluru.
A senior Congress leader, on condition of anonymity, echoed this. He said the main reason for their defeat was the failure of the Congress-JDS alliance. Had they contested separately under the Congress banner, they would have given a better fight to BJP, he said. “Barring Bangalore South, we had chances of winning Central and North, but the alliance spoilt it. We lost JDS voters who did not accept us,’’ the leader said.