Cong looks to beat stability narrative, CM’s caste call

On Monday, the Congress and the JD(S) moved Election Commission against Yediyurappa openly seeking to consolidate the Veerashaiva-Lingayat votes, calling it a violation of the model code of conduct. 

The Congress, which is teeming with determination to defeat the disqualified legislators, faces the challenge of countering the ruling BJP’s narrative of ‘stable government’ and the caste consolidation that Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa himself is attempting.

Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah on Monday chanted the ‘midterm election’ mantra, saying the BJP government will collapse as it will not win the required number of seats in the December 5 bypolls to ensure a majority in the Assembly. The BJP needs to win at least 7-8 out of the 15 seats facing bypolls to keep sailing.

A section of Congress leaders is wary of telling voters about the midterm polls. “The BJP already has an advantage with its ‘stable government’ narrative,” a Congress leader said. “MLAs across parties don’t want another election. And we’re not sure how talking about a midterm election will affect voters’ behaviour. It may or may not become an advantage to the BJP,” the leader said. 

The BJP is seeking votes on the grounds that the victory of the disqualified legislators will mean a stable government for the next three years. 

The Congress is also worried over Yediyurappa’s efforts to consolidate votes of the dominant Veerashaiva-Lingayat community to which he belongs. The BJP has fielded four candidates from the community - Mahesh Kumathalli (Athani), Shrimanth Patil (Kagwad), B C Patil (Hirekerur) and Arunkumar Pujar (Ranebennur).

On Monday, the Congress and the JD(S) moved Election Commission against Yediyurappa openly seeking to consolidate the Veerashaiva-Lingayat votes, calling it a violation of the model code of conduct. 

“The CM so blatantly trying to consolidate Veerashaiva-Lingayat votes that it gives us an opportunity to tap into other communities that are left feeling alienated,” the Congress leader quoted above said. “At the constituency level, we are holding community meetings, particularly the AHINDA (minorities, backward classes and Dalits) and urging them to vote for the Congress,” the leader said. 

For the Congress, however, the support it enjoyed from the AHINDA is not the same it used to be. Apparently, there is a split within the AHINDA community that traditionally backed the Congress, with one section vying to ensure the victory of the three Kuruba disqualified MLAs - MTB Nagaraj, Byrathi Basavaraj and H Vishwanath - the BJP has fielded. Siddaramaiah, too, is a Kuruba.  

 

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