BENGALURU: The writing on the wall is clear. The Modi wave is still a big factor that can influence the elections in Karnataka. If Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his partymen don’t get their act together, it could prove difficult to stop the Modi-Shah juggernaut.
BJP’s historic performance in Uttar Pradesh is likely to make matters worse for Siddaramaiah. It will boost BJP’s morale and help set the momentum in its favour. It may also influence fence-sitters in the ruling party. In the last few weeks, many big names from the Congress have joined the BJP and more desertions are likely as the Congress is seen as a sinking ship.
While the Congress leadership is busy tackling a number of issues, the BJP seems to be working in mission mode to win 150 seats in the 2018 elections. Not having a full-time KPCC president is among the major shortcomings of the party. This was exposed time and again.
When BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa went all guns blazing ‘exposing’ the Congress in the ‘diarygate’, the ruling party’s defence was less than credible. With KPCC president G Parameshwara doubling up as Home Minister, Working President Dinesh Gundu Rao is left alone to do the firefighting.
Political analysts say Congress must have a full-time president backed by an organisational set-up to take on the aggressive BJP and also the JD(S) that will be fighting for its existence in the 2018 polls. For the Congress, it is not an easy task to find a leader who is acceptable to all sections within the party and who also has mass appeal.
After five years in power, Siddaramaiah’s first challenge will be to deal with the anti-incumbency factor. In 2013 polls, he was seen as a champion of backward classes and minorities. That apart, the UP results show that minority appeasement may not work the way it did in the past.
In 2013, people were angry with the BJP leaders who were mired in corruption charges and infighting that led to the formation of the KJP. However, the BJP and KJP’s vote share was less than the Congress. Now BJP leaders seem to have sorted out their differences and cases against BSY have been dismissed.
Though the BJP state unit is still witnessing differences among its leaders, the central leadership can ensure that they work as one unit with a clear focus on winning the elections. The Congress party and its government are not talking in unison and those who had joined the party with Siddaramaiah almost a decade ago are still considered as ‘outsiders’.
The JD (S) too is no pushover. Former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy is making efforts to win seats in north Karnataka and Old Mysore. Though Assembly polls are due next year, all three parties are already in poll mode. The election results will boost the morale of BJP, while it should be a warning sign for the Congress.