'BJP will now come second because there’s no alternative now'

‘Worried even now that alliance may erode Cong’s base’

Congress MP D K Suresh has been tasked to ensure the victory of Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s wife Anitha Kumaraswamy in the Ramanagara constituency bypoll. The segment falls under the Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha constituency that he represents.  DH’s Bharath Joshi caught up with Suresh on what the alliance means for the Congress, how the party is dealing with a miffed cadre and more.

The Ramanagara bypoll will not have a Congress candidate this time, even in the face of a chequered rivalry with the JD(S). This has angered party workers.

The Congress and JD(S) have had a direct fight for the past 40 years. When we decided to form an alliance, there was great confusion and it was difficult for us. Importantly, at the local level, there are deep-rooted political differences - rivalry during local elections, village fights, family fights - there’s politics in every house. So, we’re stuck in a difficult situation. Through consistent outreach, we’ve managed to convince 80-90% of our workers. But there’s a section that is silent. We’ve appointed senior Congress leaders to understand what this silence means.

Will the Congress’ votes get split up because of the alliance?

The possibility of that is very low. We’ve taken up initiatives to build a relationship between the party workers and voters. We’re confident that at least 80% of our voters will be convinced.

But it seems certain that the BJP will gain.

I won’t deny that. The BJP will now come second because there’s no alternative now. It’s a straight fight with the BJP. However, the vote share of both Congress and JD(S) will come to our candidate. There may be division of votes that will benefit the BJP and they will earn substantial votes. But will they remain secure in the second place? I doubt that.

Many in the Congress, including yourself, have expressed concern that the alliance could erode the Congress’ base.

I have that worry even now. This atmosphere is there everywhere, especially in the old Mysuru region. There will be a problem if leadership at the local level decides to form an alliance without taking party workers into confidence. Overall, there will be embarrassment and organisational responsibilities will increase.

Will Ramanagara bypoll result affect your prospects in the next Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha polls?

No. The voting pattern for the Lok Sabha election is different from an Assembly election. I will not connect the two.

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