BENGALURU: In a now familiar narrative across the nation, the BJP triumphed over other parties as its mayoral candidate Goutham Kumar Jain won hands down, with allies Congress and JDS buckling under pressure and tamely surrendering the BBMP to the BJP. The allies were at the helm of affairs for four years.
Former Deputy Mayor S Harish, one of the BJP strategists, said, “We could have won earlier, but we took long.’’
Analysing the reasons behind the humiliating defeat of the allies, it’s clear that despite having 125 votes on paper, the Congress and JDS chickened out. First, they didn’t try to reach out to the seven independents who had supported them all along. Five independents, except Anand Kumar and SDPI’s Mujahid Pasha, deserted them for the BJP. While the Congress and JDS blamed backroom manoeuvring and promise of “plum positions” for the switchover, BJP leader and former mayor Katte Sathya said, “Earlier, Anand Kumar was with us, but he switched to Congress-JDS.’’
The other reason was confusion in the Congress-JDS camp whether corporators loyal to the rebel MLAs would support the allies. It came as a surprise that JDS rebel Gopalaiah’s wife Hemalatha gave her support, as did Mahadev, a corporator considered to be close to Gopalaiah.
Besides this, JDS corporators are a divided lot: While most of them openly supported the Congress, some covertly supported the BJP, and two corporators — Manjula Narayanaswamy from Laggere and Devdas from BTM Layout — abstained. JDS national spokesperson Ramesh Babu said, “They did this during the mayoral election last time too.”
The absence of Congress MP DK Suresh, who is in Delhi, MP KC Ramamurthy who was surprisingly absent, and Congress MLC Raghu Achar, signalled that it could cost the allies at the critical time of voting. As did the absence of Congress rebels Munirathna, Somashsekar, Byrathi Basavaraj, and JDS man Gopalaiah.
The loss could also have had to do with Ramalinga Reddy, who usually leads from the front, taking the backseat. The lack of enthusiasm could be due to the realisation that the allies were badly outnumbered.
Asked about reasons for the rout in his constituency, Shantinagar Congress MLA NA Haris said, “We could have done better, but things went against us.’’