The newly sworn in H D Kumaraswamy cabinet has 8 Vokkaligas, the community the chief minister belongs to. If one were to include the CM too then there are 9 Vokkaligas in the ministry.
There are 6 former Karnataka Chief Ministers in the fray for the Lok Sabha elections. While each one appears to be strong in their respective constituency, the most interesting battle would be between two former Chief Ministers, H D Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal (S) and Veerappa Moily of the Congress. The rest in the fray are N Dharam Singh, B S Yeddyurappa, H Deve Gowda and D Sadananda Gowda.
His was a surprise candidature. Prathap Simha, newspaper columnist and Narendra Modi’s biographer is the 37 year old BJP’s candidate from the prestigious Mysore constituency. Prathap Simha who has written the book, Narendra Modi: The Untrodden Road was chosen over veteran leader, C H Vijayshankar which caused a lot of heart burn among local leaders in the Mysore. However Prathap Simha says that these are issues which are part of every constituency in the country and once it is time all will work towards one goal and that is to make Modi the Prime Minister of this country.
Prathap Simha in this interview with rediff.com says that he has a good chance of winning and adds that the wave Narendra Modi has today is in fact bigger than the one Vajpayee had in 1999.
All possible combinations to defeat the Congress in the two by elections fell flat. Both Congress candidates, D Suresh and Ramya beat their rivals in the Deve Gowda led Janata Dal (S) by huge margins.
Although right from the start it was clear that the Congress would win, there were egos and prestige at stake. Anita Kumaraswamy wife of H D Kumaraswamy and daughter in law of Deve Gowda was up against D Suresh of the Congress. Anita who had lost the assembly elections needed a win to save her political career. Moreoever it was a battle for the Vokkaliga votes between the two parties. Gowda who is called as the champion of the Vokkaliga could do little to salvage pride.
Caste was always a factor during the Karnataka elections and this time around too it has played a major role. However the surprise was the tilt of the Lingayat vote bank in favour of the Congress which ended up winning 67 out of the 118 Lingayat dominated areas in the state.
The Congress will be pleased with this improvement since it had managed to win only 20 seats in the Lingayat dominated belts during 2008. This was largely because the BJP had projected B S Yeddyurappa as its leader and there was a major trend in favour of the party back then. The BJP however tried to counter the Yeddyurappa factor by appointing Jagadish Shettar also a Lingayat as its leader. However the Shettar magic clearly did not work as the votes were split three way in 2013 which ended up benefitting the Congress. Continue reading “Caste factor- How did it work this time?”
Puttur may be a sleepy town situated around 100 kilometres away from Mangalore. However it is a hot bed of political activity and it has all the ingredients to gather the attention of the people of Karnataka.
First of all it is the home constituency of D V Sadananda Gowda, the former Chief Minister of Karnataka. A win here would be a personal victory for Gowda as he has been putting in all his resources over here.
In Karnataka caste equations are at play when elections are round the corner. However more importantly we would find almost all politicians who go to a Mutt in the state before commencing their election campaign.
How important is being identified with a mutt important for the politicians in Karnataka? Very important almost all would say. The mutts in Karnataka may not openly support the candidature of any person or even identify directly with a party. However each one has their favourites.
This probably would be the first election in Karnataka where two major factors are not going to be in play- a lobby and the caste factor.
The politics in Karnataka has always been controlled by the above two mentioned factors, but this time around very surprisingly there is not a single lobby controlling the elections. Even caste has taken a back seat and the two deciding castes-Vokkaligas and Lingayats are divided in their loyalty.
Lost lobbies- Karnataka has seen three major lobbies till date which have controlled the politics inside out. First it was the liquor lobby and this was considered to be Ramakrishna Hegde’s ticket to success. Since the days of Devraj Urs, the liquor lobby is what controlled the politics. However in the year 2003, there was a sudden collapse of this lobby after the state decided to introduce the Karnataka State Beverages Corporation Limited which plugged the leaks in the excise revenue which ultimately ended the dominance of this lobby.
One of the most interesting battles that would be fought in Karnataka is at the Rajajinagar Constituency in Bangalore. It has two big wigs- Suresh Kumar of the BJP and Shobha Karandlage of the Karnataka Janatha Party.
This is being seen as a revenge battle headed by B S Yeddyurappa and for this he has fielded his most trusted lieutenant. For Yeddyurappa, defeating two persons is of primary importance. He has sworn to defeat K S Eshwarappa and Suresh Kumar as he feels that these two persons were responsible for his ouster as Chief Minister. Continue reading “REVENGE- Shobha vs Suresh”
The Congress has always created a suspense when it came to announcing their Chief Ministerial candidate. In Karnataka the case is no different and with S M Krishna forced into retirement, the Congress will have to look for a person who could be the Chief Minister in case the party manages to win the Karnataka polls. Continue reading “SMK in retirement- Who will lead the Congress?”