Lotus bloom in Karnataka and Bangalore too
Around 11 am, Basavaraj was trailing behind the Congress’ candidate Muddahanume Gowda. Gowda, a party hopper, seems to be proving lucky man to KPCC President Parameshwara. It was the Congress’ chief decision to field Gowda. Parameshwara is trying to regain his foothold in his home district Tumkur after his debacle in the Assembly elections.
Update at 10.30 AM
The BJP, as projected in many exit polls, is leading in Karnataka. The Lotus is blooming in 16 to 17 Lok Sabha constituencies, while the Congress is ahead in 8. The JD (S) is leading in Hassan and Mandya. The AAP, which contested for the first time in Karnataka, has hardly made any impact on the voters.
Karnataka is known to tread a different path when it comes to voting in Lok Sabha elections. When the Congress won many states in 2009, the BJP got 19 seats of the total 28 seats in Karnataka. But this time it looks like Karnataka’s voters have gone with rest of the nation’s sentiments.
The BJP, a year ago, performed badly in the Assembly elections. In 114 assembly constituencies, BJP candidates lost their deposit. It's a full turn around in just over a year. It faced the elections which was fought bitterly with more confidence, thanks to Narendra Modi, the NDA’s PM hopeful. The party had faced the assembly elections without former CM B S Yeddyurappa. But he returned to the parent party and also got a ticket to contest from Shimoga. He's leading from there as we publish this.
It is obvious that the Congress, as elsewhere in the country, could not withstand the onslaught of Modi. He had paid special attention to Karnataka by visiting the state often to address not less than 20 rallies. His repeated plea for '300 Lotuses' seems to have been heard by the voters.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had claimed that his party would get not less than 19-20 seats. He was under the assumption that the Anna Bhagya and Ksheera Bhagya besides waiver of farm loan would pay him dividends. Alas, he has been proved wrong and might find his position as CM endangered.
In Bangalore City, the BJP is on its way to retain all the three seats, going by the trends around 10.30 am. About 15 per cent of the total votes polled have been counted in the state capital. In Bangalore Central, Congress’ Rizwan Arshad, who is considered as Rahul Gandhi’s pick, is trailing. The Congress is also behind the BJP in two other constituencies - Bangalore South and Bangalore North. Infosys co-founder and Congress’ VIP candidate Nandan Nilekani is trailing behind the sitting BJP MP Ananth Kumar in Bangalore South. Nilekani reportedly even left the counting centre once the trend was ominous. Former CM D V Sadananda Gowda is already in a celebration mood as he is ahead of the Congress’ C Narayanaswamy in Bangalore North. The Congress had adopted the presidential form of selection of candidates (Primaries) in Bangalore North and Dakshina Kannada.
In 2009, the BJP had won 19 seats, and the Congress 6. The Congress appears to be improving its tally from the last election. But in the last five years due to by-elections, the Congress’ tally had gone up to 9. In all probability, the Congress may touch 10 to 12. Siddaramaiah will try to project that it has taken the tally higher as compared to the position held in the last five years.
For the first Lingayat strongman and former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa looks set to enter Parliament. His victory margin could be anywhere in the range of 1 to 1.2 lakh. Insiders say he's also hopeful of a cabinet position.
The BJP’s Naleen Kumar Kateel, sitting MP, who faced stiff competition from the Congress’ Janardhana Poojary is also leading in the coastal district of Dakshina Kannada, where the NaMo brigade worked overtime. He has not let down the saffron party this time too. Poojary might not contest Lok Sabha elections anymore.
Former minister and Yeddyurappa’s close associate Shobha Karandlaje looks sure of winning the Chikmagalur-Udupi seat against the Congress’ sitting MP Jayaprakash Hegde. This is her first attempt to enter Parliament through the ballot route. She was a reluctant entry to the fray. It was the party’s decision to field her from Chikmagalur-Udupi.
Bellary, which made news for all the wrong reasons, has reposed faith in the BJP. The party may retain its seat here. B Sriramulu is ahead of the Congress’ Hanumanthappa. Illegal mining and the related developments seem to have made no impact on the poll prospects of Sriramulu.
Among the Congress' union ministers, Mallikarjun Kharge, Veerappa Moily, K H Muniyappa are leading for now.
(Analysis at 10.30 am by Asha Krishnaswamy, Karnataka political editor)