Janata Dal (Secular) candidate Marithibbegowda’s election to the Legislative Council for the third time was what even the intelligence wing of the police had reported to their bosses.
What surprised them was BJP’s S M Gurunanjaiah being pushed to the third slot and Congress’ M Lakshmana finishing second.
The intelligence personnel — city and state wings — had prepared reports predicting the victory of JD(S) nominee. They had prepared the reports after collating information from every taluk spread over Mysore, Mandya, Chamarajanagar and Hassan districts that form the south teachers’ constituency. Though there were mixed opinions, the gap between Congress and BJP could be very thin, the intelligence personnel had asserted.
Similar is the post-mortem reports emerging from BJP and Congress camps about the defeat in the hustings. The saffron party leaders say, Congress pulled the rug off the feet of the BJP in just three days to the polls. Till then the sympathy wave was towards BJP, with its candidate losing previous two elections in a row.
A close fight was expected between JD(S) and BJP. However, the plans went awry with the inner circles in the BJP finding out that nearly 1,500 voters earlier in favour of BJP have shifted their loyalty to the Congress. Had Congress not made inroads into BJP votes, the BJP nominee would have polled over 5,000 first preferential votes.
According to the statistics available, the BJP had polled 3,869 of the first preferential votes against Congress 4,000 and odd votes. JD(S) had garnered 5,936 votes.
Another argument is that the image of the party that has received a severe setback with the arrest of former chief minister and BJP strongman B S Yeddyurappa.
Moreover, Yeddyurappa who has had a considerable support in old Mysore region staying away from campaigning could be yet another reason.