BJP Says Cong.-JD(S) Alliance Will Have Little Impact on Lok Sabha Polls
The Congress-JD(S) alliance in the State works into the narrative of a united Opposition against the Narendra Modi-led BJP in 2019 Lok Sabha elections. At the same time, an aggressive State BJP that has won the most seats in the State in Lok Sabha polls from 2004, argues that the alliance will have little impact on its tally — 17 of 28 seats in the State.
The BJP argues that the Congress-JD(S) alliance will only strengthen candidates in Old Mysore region, and will make no difference in north Karnataka, where the BJP has picked up most of its seats.
“The added strength of the two partners is limited to 10 Lok Sabha seats in the south, of which the BJP today has four seats and all of them in Bengaluru and Mysuru cities. These are places where the Modi wave will still help us give a good fight,” said a senior party leader.
However, senior Congress leader Ramalinga Reddy said the Congress-JD(S) combine would most likely sweep Old Mysore, including all urban seats as BJP would be a distant second against their combined strength in the region. Though the BJP did maintain an edge in north Karnataka in 2014, Congress picked up three seats — Kalaburagi, Raichur, and Chikkodi.
The BJP is banking on north Karnataka and coastal Karnataka to retain its tally. “The three-day government of B.S. Yeddyurappa and his emotional speech in the Assembly has generated righteous anger, not only among Lingayats who feel the Congress-JD(S) have subverted their mandate, which will help us pick up most seats in the north,” claimed former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar from Dharwad. Since the JD(S) had no base in the north, Congress will be left alone to fight BJP, he added.
However, Congress and JD(S) leaders do not buy the argument. Senior JD(S) leader Basavaraj Horatti said it was “foolish” to argue that the JD(S) had no base in north Karnataka going only by the seats they had won without taking into account the vote share. JD(S) won six seats in north Karnataka in the recently-concluded Assembly polls — two each in Vijayapura and Raichur and one each in Yadgir and Bidar. “The political space BJP is occupying today in north Karnataka is not that of Sangh Parivar, but of Janata Parivar, the space vacated by the JD(U). H.D. Kumaraswamy is very popular in this part even today, and our priority will be to give good administration in the coming year to fight the BJP,” he said.
A senior Congress leader said Congress leader Siddaramaiah being an MLA from Bagalkot will help polarise AHINDA votes and a likely Lingayat Deputy Chief Minister from the region will help Congress-JD(S) combine.