The two national parties - the BJP and the Congress - proved on Monday that they were equally indisciplined and some of their MLAs were more ‘loyal’ to outsiders than following the diktat of their respective parties.
The results have necessitated both the parties to do a lot of introspection and explaining to their high commands. The polls to the 11 seats of the Legislative Council from the Assembly witnessed massive cross-voting.
It is apparent that 12 BJP and five Congress MLAs violated the whip issued by their respective parties and cross voted during the polls. Probably, the faction-ridden Congress took a huge risk by fielding a fourth candidate.
M R Seetharam, the fourth candidate and director of M R Ramaiah Institute of Technology, as per the votes allocated by the Congress had just 14 votes and he was asked to manage the other five votes. But, he got 20 votes, the highest among the party’s candidates.
KPCC president G Parameshwara and Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah had been managing the poll show. While Siddaramaiah had sought a ticket to his follower C M Ibrahim, the high command chose to field Iqbal Saradagi, former MP.
Siddaramaiah even tendered his resignation as CLP leader as he was not consulted while finalising the candidates. Eventually, he toed the party line.
The party was keen on giving representation to a Muslim from North Karnataka, and hence, chose Saradagi. Byrathy Suresh, banking on his community leader Siddaramaiah, wanted to be the Congress candidate. But eventually Seetharam managed to be the fourth candidate.
While Siddaramaiah remained incommunicado to the media when the counting of votes began, Parameshwara told reporters that it was indeed time for the party to take stock of the situation, with some of its MLAs even transferring their first preference votes to non-Congress candidates.
“An independent candidate walked away with 23 votes. While voting, other considerations than loyalty to the party have worked. This is obvious with Saradagi not getting four of the total first preferential votes allotted to him by the party,” he said.
Speaking to reporters after the counting, Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said all the parties, especially the national parties, should introspect on their internal affairs. “We are happy that all our six candidates won. But, at the same time, we realise what has happened during the voting. We will sit down and introspect,” he said.
He lashed out at the Congress stating the “pseudo-secular nature” of the party had been exposed.
“The party, which claims to be the saviour of the minority community, has defeated its own official candidate from the community. The bickerings in the Congress are now out in the open and they should stop pointing fingers at others,” Gowda said.
Eshwarappa was more vocal about the affairs in his own party.
“It is a fitting lesson for us. It has exposed the rot that has set into the party due to artificial growth. This is what happens when party growth in terms of its elected representatives gets preference over party organisation.
Many in my party may not like what I am saying, but I feel it’s time we start the cleansing process,” Eshwarappa said.
He said politics in the State had plummented to the lowest level.
“It is unfortunate that our elected representatives have become purchasable commodities. People should teach a lesson to such legislators,” he said. Parameshwara, countering the arguments of the BJP, said if the Congress was anti-minority, a Muslim candidate (Saradagi) would not have been fielded.
The results have shown that the party should give preference to those who have grown in the party, while distributing tickets for the next Assembly polls, he said.
JD(S) State president H D Kumaraswamy said Byrathy Suresh would join the party soon.