HUBLI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has bounced back in North Karnataka region with a vengeance.
The saffron party, which had fared badly in last year’s Assembly election, has managed to regain its ground in the region winning nine of the 12 seats. With this, it repeated its stellar performance of 2009 Lok Sabha elections when it had won 10 seats.
Barring Gulbarga, Raichur and Chikkodi, the saffron party has swept all constituencies in North Karnataka. While it lost Gulbarga by a margin of 74,733 votes, the party candidate gave a fight till the last vote was cast in Raichur and Chikkodi constituencies where the victory margin of the Congress is a paltry 1,499 and 3,272 votes, respectively. On the other hand, the party has registered big victories in other constituencies.
Another significant achievement of the BJP is that it has managed to win LS seats like Bagalkot, Karwar, Bijapur, Haveri, Koppal and Bidar where Congress has maximum number of MLAs.
This clearly indicates that the voters in North Karnataka have not considered any other factor while voting for the BJP.
The resurgence of BJP has also shown a considerable increase in its vote share in the Lingayat dominated North-Karnataka vis-a vis the ruling Congress. The BJP has bagged a whopping 60,36,585 votes in these 12 constituencies whereas the ruling Congress in the state had to be content with 53,07,410 votes.
In 2013 Assembly elections, the BJP had won just 19 of the 96 Assembly seats in the region and polled 28,52,935 votes. The KJP had got 14,75,975 votes and the BSR Congress 6,14,536 votes. Both were offshoots of the BJP. On the other hand, the Congress polled 45,25,678 votes winning 57 seats in the region.
The results of 2014 Lok Sabha polls also give credence to the argument that the saffron party lost the 2013 election due to the split in votes between the BJP, KJP and the BSR Congress.
Harish Ramaswamy, Professor of Political Science at Karnataka University, Dharwad, said the good show by the BJP was a result of a combination Narendra Modi factor and the re-entry of BS Yeddyurappa and B Sriramulu. The lack of cohesion in the state Congress has also helped the BJP to a certain extent.
“This victory of the BJP is not so much about the Congress government in the state, but a result of the firm resolve of the voters to bank Modi decisively and punish corruption-ridden UPA-II,’’ he added.