Cong reports warn of polarisation in 5 seats

Cong reports warn of polarisation in 5 seats

The Congress’ internal research has found that votes may be polarised towards the BJP in five Lok Sabha constituencies currently represented by the saffron party.

A report by the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee’s (KPCC) research department, which DH has accessed, points out that communal or caste-based polarisation was an issue in Dakshina Kannada, Koppal, Haveri, Davangere and Udupi-Chikmagalur.

The BJP has already re-nominated MPs Nalin Kumar Kateel for Dakshina Kannada, Shivkumar Udasi for Haveri, G M Siddeshwar for Davangere and Shobha Karandlaje for Udupi-Chikmagalur. The saffron party is yet to declare its candidate for Koppal, currently represented by Karadi Sanganna.

For the May 2018 Assembly polls, the BJP went aggressive on its Hindutva agenda while the Congress resorted to "soft Hindutva" in the coastal region, where the saffron party managed a near-sweep by winning 18 out of 21 Assembly segments.

Koppal, Davangere and Haveri are Lingayat-dominated constituencies, and the Congress knows only too well how this dominant community played a role in the Assembly elections.

Not only did the Congress lost badly in the Lingayat-dominated Assembly segments, a majority of prominent party leaders who were actively involved in the controversial ‘separate Lingayat religion’ movement suffered defeat against BJP candidates - a clear sign there was consolidation of Lingayat votes in the backdrop of Lingayat religion row. The BJP also painted it as an attempt to prevent B S Yeddyurappa, a Lingayat, from becoming chief minister.

Across these five constituencies, the BJP’s vote share has risen since the 2013 Assembly polls, the KPCC report shows.