Decoding the big BJP defeat in Bellary: How the party lost the plot
Bengaluru, Nov 6: The Karnataka by-elections are done and it was advantage Congress-JD(S). The BJP managed to win just the Shivamogga Lok Sabha seat. However the biggest defeat for the BJP was in Bellary, which has been considered as a BJP strong hold owing to the clout of the Reddy brothers and their close aide, B Sriramulu.
The BJP had fielded J Shantha, who is B Sriramulu's sister against V Ugrappa of the Congress. It appeared to be a strongly contested seat, but Ugrappa managed to snatch victory quite easily and won by a margin of over 1 lakh votes.
The BJP would clearly need to introspect on this region, which it proudly called its bastion for long. This segment was one of the key areas of the state, which had helped the BJP win the 2008 assembly elections.
Under the Bellary Lok Sabha constituency there are 8 legislative assembly segments. In the 2018 elections, the BJP did not exactly put up an impressive show, despite Sriramulu's return to the party. Out of the 8 segments, the BJP managed to win just two. The rest were bagged by the JD(S) and Congress.
Assembly results Bellary 2018:
Following the impressive performance in 2008, one would have through that any contest in Bellary would be a cake walk for the party. However the mining scam hit the party, following which Sriramulu quit.
He did come back to the BJP in 2014, but it was not the same. The BJP despite being under the Reddy brothers in Bellary did not look like the invincible force any longer.
In the by-elections which became necessary as Sriramulu vacated the seat after being elected to the assembly, it had become a matter of pride. The Reddy brothers had declared a war on the JD(S) and Congress and said that Bellary is their turf.
The Congress however went all out to ensure that Ugrappa, a close confidante of Siddaramaiah won the battle. They put one of their strongest men, D K Shivakumar in charge of the campaign. It paid off the Congress and this victory is a huge morale boost for the party.
Dr Sandeep Shastri, leading political scientist says that at the end of the day, the real difference was at Bellary. It was more or less a status quo everywhere except at Ballari.
For the BJP, what may have gone wrong is the infighting. Secondly it also important to note that Sriramulu, considered to be the strongman from Ballari may not be the most popular leader in the BJP.
The Ballary result is also an assertion by D K Shivakumar of the Congress. His argument has always been that he has not been given the kind of importance he deserves in the party. He has proven with his organisational skills that he is capable of delivering big, says Dr. Shastri.
In the case of the BJP, the internal contradictions have come to the fore. Their leaders have been saying that it is time for introspection and issues relating to the Karnataka State BJP not being in order have yet again come to the fore.