Coalition discord helps BJP up Mandya vote share

Coalition discord helps BJP up Mandya vote share

L R Shivaramegowda. DH file photo

The JD(S) won the bypolls in the Mandya Lok Sabha constituency on expected lines with a huge margin of 3.25 lakh votes, despite the discord in the JD(S)-Congress coalition.

However, the discord in the coalition helped the BJP, which lacks a base in the Vokkaliga dominated constituency, increase its vote share. The BJP secured an all-time record of 2,44,377 votes.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, B Shivalinagaiah of the BJP had secured only 86,993 votes out of 11,92,638 votes polled. The only time the BJP crossed the 1 lakh mark was in 2009 with a "guest" candidate - L R Shivaramegowda.



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The bypolls, necessitated by the resignation of district in-charge minister C S Puttaraju, was held on November 3.

While JD(S)-Congress coalition candidate L R Shivaramegowda won by securing 5,69,302 votes, his nearest rival Siddaramaiah, an ex-bureaucrat, was far away at a margin of 3,24,925 votes. Seven Independents were also in the fray.

Shivaramegowda, who had won from Nagamangala Assembly constituency twice earlier as an Independent, has come a full circle in politics as he was in the Congress for some time and also in the BJP for a short duration. In fact, he was the BJP candidate in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. He had secured 1,44,875 votes in the 2009 polls, a record vote share for the BJP in Mandya till recently. He joined the Janata Parivar once again before the last Assembly polls.

Siddaramaiah, who retired as an additional commissioner for Commercial Tax, is also a new entrant to the BJP. Although a native of Mandya district and a nephew of the late MLA B Doddaboregowda, Siddaramaiah is a resident of Bengaluru. Doddaboregowda had represented both Srirangapatna (1967 Independent) and Mandya (1983 Janata Party) Assembly constituencies.

Unlike in the other four constituencies, where the bypolls were held, the discord within the Congress was vocal in Mandya. Both leaders and workers of the party had expressed their opposition to the coalition and the candidature of Shivaramegowda publicly.

The JD(S) and the Congress are the traditional rivals in the district and also Mandya Lok Sabha constituency. The constituency comprises Mandya district and also KR Nagar Assembly constituency.

In the 2013 bypoll, Ramya of the Congress won with 4,84,085 votes and C S Puttaraju of the JD(S) lost with 4,16,474 votes. In the 2014 general poll, Puttaraju won with 5,24,370 votes, while Ramya lost with a narrow margin. She secured 5,18,852 votes.

While JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda sought votes for the party in public meetings, without naming the candidate, in-charge minister of the Congress K J George was not visible much.

It has to be recalled that Deve Gowda had held massive protests against Shivaramegowda two decades ago, in connection with the case of the murder of advocate-journalist Kanchanahalli Gangadhara Murthy. Later Shivaramegowda was acquitted in the case.

Though Mandya is the native district of the former chief minister and BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa, the BJP is yet to find ground here. The induction of former CM S M Krishna, a Vokkaliga strongman, and also a native of the district, has not helped the BJP much.

Since a couple of decades, former prime minister Deve Gowda and his son Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy have been calling the shots in the district. However, the nearest rival and also traditional opponent in the district has been the Congress. Though the leaders in the state level have formed a coalition, the local leaders are yet to digest it.

It has to be mentioned that all eight Assembly constituencies under the Lok Sabha constituency are represented by the JD(S). Besides, there are three ministers of the party from here in the state Cabinet.