The BJP could find itself in trouble against a common candidate of the Congress-JD(S) combine in at least six of the 17 Lok Sabha seats the saffron party won five years ago.
That is because the Congress and JD(S) look poised to wrest those seats from the BJP going purely by the votes the alliance partners polled in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
The vote share of the Congress and JD(S) together either surpasses or comes dangerously close to the BJP’s in Mysore-Kodagu, Davangere, Bijapur, Bidar and Koppal. While Congress and JD(S) were no match to the BJP in Bellary last time, the alliance pulled off a huge victory to wrest the seat in the recent bypoll.
In Mysore-Kodagu, for instance, the Congress-JD(S) garnered a combined vote share of 52.6% against the BJP’s 43.45% in 2014. In Davangere, too, the Congress-JD(S) edged past the BJP with a vote share of 49.16%.
The purported anti-incumbency that incumbent G M Siddeshwara faces could add to the Congress-JD(S) advantage this time.
The Congress’ alliance with the JD(S), despite opposition from within, could help boost the vote share. Take Bijapur and Bidar, for instance, where the Congress-JD(S) vote share nears the BJP’s, which means a victory could be in sight if the alliance partners try a little harder.
While it is not yet clear if Union Minister Ramesh Jigajinagi will get the Bijapur ticket again, Bidar’s Bhagwanth Khuba is likely to face a tough election because the Congress won four of the six Assembly constituencies in the district earlier this year.
In Koppal, the Congress alone polled 45% votes, not far behind BJP’s 48%, whereas the JD(S) did not field a candidate.
Besides these seats, the Congress says it is confident of wresting Belgaum. It is also learnt that Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda has asked the party not to field him from Bangalore North again.
It is speculated that JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda may contest from Bangalore North, where Vokkaligas are said to be dominant.
Concurring that the Congress-JD(S) combine could put the BJP in a spot, political analyst Harish Ramaswamy said: “The alliance will work if the two parties keep intact their votes, instead of making the mistake of trying to eat into the BJP’s.”