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How Siddaramaiah got the caste arithmetic completely wrong


The caste arithmetic for the Congress went completely wrong and the result was clear. The party ended up with just 78 seats when compared to its tally of 122 in 2013. It was clear that the party was unable to garner the crucial votes of the Lingayats and Vokkaligas, the two most dominant castes in Karnataka who form 17 and 12 to 15 per cent of the population of the state respectively.

How Siddaramaiah got the caste arithmetic completely wrong

OneIndia had reported that the over-emphasising on the Lingayat issue would cost Siddaramaiah and this would isolate the Vokkaligas from the Congress. With the BJP making gains in the Lingayat dominated belts, it also became clear that the ploy to recommend minority status also proved costly for the Congress.

There are four instances to show how the Lingayat issue filed miserably for the Congress. In Chamundeshwari, where the Lingayats are a strong force, Siddaramaiah was defeated by 36,000 votes. He was defeated by G T Deve Gowda of the JD(S), a dominant Vokkaliga leader. Three key Lingayat leaders, Vinay Kulkarni, Sharan Prakash Patil and Basavaraj Rayaraddi also lost out to the BJP from Dharwad Rural, Sedam and Yelaburga respectively.

In the Old Mysore region which is dominated by Vokkaligas, the Congress lost considerable ground. There was an under-current which worked against the Congress. In fact the Vokkaligas had said several times that their anger is against Siddaramaiah and not the Congress. The comments Siddaramaiah made against Gowda did not go down clearly in the Hassan and Mandya belts.

The Vokkaligas had started to get the feeling that Siddaramaiah was aiming at making the Kuruba community that he belongs to stronger. G T Deve Gowda said that the rise of Siddaramaiah was seen as a threat to the Vokkaligas in the rural Mysore region. This resulted in the consolidation of votes in favour of the JD(S).

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