Lok Sabha elections 2019: JD(S) playing caste politics to woo Vokkaliga voters
Bengaluru, Apr 04: As the Lok Sabha elections nears, the caste factor raises its ugly head in Karnataka and it should come as no surprise.
Keeping the caste equation in mind, the JD(S) party have once again played caste politics to garner the support of Vokkaliga voters in Mandya constituency.
This time, JD(S) has reportedly have given the responsibility of playing caste poiltics to MP LR Shivarame Gowda who was till recently cribbing that he should be given ticket to contest from Mandya.
Recently, the JD(S) loyalist and incumbent MP LR Shivarame Gowda didn't mince words when he openly criticised actor Sumalatha, who is contesting from Mandya as an independent candidate, and her supporters - Sandalwood actors Darshan and Yash.
Taking their caste into consideration, he reiterated that Sumalatha would become the gowdati or female chieftain because she is from the Naidu community, and that her supporter Darshan too is from the same community.
While Sumalatha hit back saying it is ironical that a party (JDS) that boasts of its secular credentials, resorts to caste all the time.
However, this is not the first time, earlier in 2013 Lok Sabha bypolls, the opponents had used the caste card to prove that Congress candidate Ramya aka Divyaspandana was not a 'Gowdathi'. But, that did not work.
The same tactics were used in the 2014 elections, and Ramya who had been elected to Parliament in a bypoll in Mandya, in the Vokkaliga heartland, as recently as August 2013 suffered a bitter loss by a margin of 5,518 votes.
However, the caste card was played efficiently during the Assembly elections, last year, at all the seven constituencies.
It can be noted that while the support of the Lingayat community goes to the BJP, the Congress- JD(S) is backed by the Vokkaligas.
Over the past two decades, the BJP has enjoyed the support of the Lingayat community and Congress-JD(S) the support of Vokkaligas. As per a rough estimate, Lingayats account for 17-19% and Vokkaligas make up 12-15% of the population of six crore.