BENGALURU: The BJP on Tuesday marked the end of public campaigning for the December 5 bypolls by welcoming sitting Congress corporator R Vasanth Kumar into the party. The corporator from Sampangiramanagar, which comes under Shivajinagar assembly constituency that is going to polls this week, is the latest addition to the list of Congress leaders who have jumped ship to the BJP. While all senior party leaders, including state party President Nalin Kumar Kateel and former chief minister SM Krishna sought votes for BJP’s candidates, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa took a step back from rallying.
Right from the go, gathering support for disqualified MLAs as its candidates for the bypolls has been a challenge for the party. First met with opposition, the BJP leadership at the state and the central levels have had to counter dissent within the party even before setting out to campaign. Party workers and leaders, who at first seemed to have been compelled to work for the disqualified “outsiders”, towards the end of the campaign made their peace with the reality, and arrived at a compromise to seek votes in favour of candidates who were once their arch rivals. While rebellion did haunt the BJP in the form of Sharath Bachegowda who decided to contest from Hoskote constituency as an Independent, the party has ensured discipline in its ranks, with strong action like suspension and expulsion.
It has been a rollercoaster ride for the BJP that has pushed cadres to work towards ensuring the survival of the Yediyurappa-led government, even at the cost of self-interest. But unlike the Congress’ campaign, BJP’s has been a structured one, with clear distinctions and planning of distribution of resources in terms of money, manpower and leadership.