In what will come as a huge blow to the Congress Party, according to reputed pollster 5forty3, Congress is trailing in Mysore, the home district of its Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah. Last time around, it had managed to secure 8 out of the 11 seats in the district but this year, they appear to be losing almost all of them, including the constituency of their Chief Minister. The Chief Minister is himself trailing in his constituency by 3% it seems.
Latest tracker data from Mysore district clearly indicates that CM @siddaramaiah is currently trailing by 3 percentage points (there are 9% swing voters); if BJP plays its cards well, JDS can actually defeat the CM in Chamundeshwari!
— Dr Praveen Patil (@5Forty3) April 19, 2018
Bookies in Karnataka are favoring the BJP to emerge as the single largest party in the state elections as well, despite a few opinion polls suggesting otherwise. This was confirmed by OneIndia, and it seems there are 800 crore rupees riding on the Karnataka elections already. Indications do not bode well for the Congress Party as Narendra Modi hasn’t even begun campaigning in the state in earnest.
During his interaction with people on ‘Bharat ki Baat Sabke Saath’, the Prime Minister alluded to the teachings of Basaveshwara, the spititual reformer of the Lingayat community. Narendra Modi garlanded a statue of the 12th century Lingayat philosopher during his UK tour as well. It could be seen as Prime Minister Modi’s outreach to the Lingayat community, which has been going through an internal turmoil as a consequence of the Congress’ attempt to cut into the BJP vote-base by according to them a minority tag.
The first signs that Siddaramaiah’s attempt at dividing the Lingayat vote-base had backfired emerged when the Veershaiva Mahasabha rejected the minority tag recommended by the Congress government in the state and dubbed it the “height of injustice”. Later, a senior leader of the Congress party had dubbed the whole charade a ‘political stunt’ and asserted that the move will not succeed at the polls. Under such circumstances, BJP’s Chief Ministerial candidate for the state, B.S.Yeddyurappa who is regarded as the most popular leader from the Lingayat community, could play a critical role in deciding the fate of the BJP in Karnataka.
Opinion polls thus far have predicted a hung assembly in Karnataka, however, all that could change after Prime Minister Modi officially begins his campaign blitzkrieg. Narendra Modi is the most popular leader from the BJP and it appears that the party will rely on the Modi Magic to sail through the elections in the state. The momentum, nevertheless, is firmly in favour of the BJP and the Congress has been busy digging its own grave through a comedy of errors that could once again prove to be costly.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has embraced divisive politics and is encouraging fissures between different communities in his bid to retain power in the state. He has been encouraging linguistic chauvinism to try and paint BJP as a ‘Hindi’ party and portray the party as an ‘outsider’ in their own country. He also attempted to cut into the Lingayat vote-base by recommending a separate minority tag for the community. Siddaramaiah is leaving no stones unturned in his bid to defeat the BJP, however, his moves appear to be backfiring against him, rather than causing any significant dent in the prospects of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The BJP’s prospects meanwhile are looking good but they appear to be in need of their star campaigner Narendra Modi to take them over the edge. Narendra Modi has extended his outreach to the Lingayat community during his visit to the UK and it appears that with his campaign blitzkrieg, the BJP will eventually bag its 22nd state in the country.