Amit Shah capitalising on losing sheen of JDS, Cong in Old Mysuru Region

Bengaluru, Dec 31 (Representative) Blowing the poll bugle in Karnataka, Union Minister and former National BJP President Amit Shah on Friday night asked party leaders from the Old Mysuru Region (OMR) to ensure that the party emerges as the number one party there.And there is a purpose here for Amit Shah to kickstart the campaign from OMR’s Mandya, not because it has been weak in this region, but to cash-in on the electoral gains the BJP has managed to register post-2004 assembly elections.Going by the data pertaining to the previous Lok Sabha and state assembly election results, the OMR is losing its sheen as a bastion of the Congress and the JDS.In 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP came out trumps in the OMR by securing a staggering 8.5 lakh-plus votes in the region than the Congress and JDS, which fought the elections together. Of the 11 Lok Sabha seats that fall under the OMR, the BJP secured a massive 73.8 lakh (50.4 percent) votes as against the 65.1 lakh votes (44 percent) garnered by the Congress and the JDS combined. The BJP votes included that of independent candidate Sumalatha who was backed by the party in Mandya.BJP’s performance in the OMR was even more impressive compared to its own show in the 2014 parliamentary elections. The party increased its vote share by a remarkable 16.4 percent, from 34 percent to 50.4 percent. In terms of votes polled, the party recorded an increase of 62.2 votes.In 2014, BJP had polled 45.5 lakh votes, while the Congress and JDS, which fought elections separately then, polled 52 lakh and 26.6 lakh (total 78.6 lakh) votes respectively.

In assembly elections too, BJP is gaining ground, whereas former Prime Minister and Vokkaliga strongman HD Deve Gowda’s solid grip for nearly four decades, is falling apart in OMR.In 2018 Assembly polls, for instance, when BJP got 104 seats and Congress 78, JDS despite contesting more than 200 seats, came a poor third with 37 seats.In 2004, JDS won 58 seats, its best ever performance. Despite getting 50-odd seats, JDS and Congress formed the government led by Dharam Singh, but Deve Gowda dumped Dharam Singh after 20 months by orchestrating a split in his party led by his son HD Kumaraswamy, who managed to strike a deal with BJP to forge a new coalition and become the Chief Minister. The deal was that Kumaraswamy would rule for 20 months and make way for BS Yediyurappa to become the Chief Minister. But when the time arrived, Deve Gowda turned ‘secular’ and declared that JDS would never put a “communal” party in power.This phase of opportunistic politics cost JDS dearly. In the next three elections, its tally of seats precariously vacilated from 28 in 2008 to 40 in 2013 and 38 in 2018.

Also, the Congress and JDS defectors who resigned from their respective parties to join BJP in 2019 and win the by-elections under the leadership of Yediyurappa, are now a new support base for BJP in the OMR.Dr K Sudhakar, hailing from Chikkaballapura, who left Congress to contest on a BJP symbol, polled 48.53 per cent votes in the by-election as compared to BJP’s original vote share of 3.21 per cent in 2018. Similarly, in KR Pete, Narayana Gowda who switched sides from JDS to BJP, got re-elected by 39.41 per cent votes. ST Somashekar, K Gopalaiah and Muniratna are among those who have added strength to the BJP. Also, to bring in Basavaraj Bommai as the chief minister is a well-thought-out ploy to use his knowledge about JDS strategies, which he gained working as political secretary to Deve Gowda during his Janata parivar stint.This strategy has begun to bear fruits. In the just-concluded civic election BJP sweeped in OMR, despite Mekedatu padayatra and Bharat Jodo Yatra, which traversed through this region. Though these results are no indicator of what future elections may hold, it has definitely infused confidence in the BJP led by Amit Shah, India’s modern Chanakya.