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Traditional rivals to allies: How effective is the Cong-JD(S) alliance in Karnataka

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Bengaluru, Jan 17: For the BJP, Karnataka has been a gateway to the south. The 2019 Lok Sabha elections will be a keenly fought contest especially in Karnataka. The BJP would be up against a combine of the JD(S) and Congress, which came together to form the government in the state.

Traditional rivals to allies: How effective is the Cong-JD(S) alliance in Karnataka

The JD(S) and Congress have been traditional rivals especially in the Old Mysore Belt which has a large chunk of Vokkaliga voters. While the combine would pose a challenge to the BJP, the question is will the political chemistry work on the ground level.

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Simply, if you add you add up the votes of the two parties, it suggests that they are at an advantage. But the question is will the political chemistry at the ground level work asks, leading political scientist, Dr. Sandeep Shastri.

What matters in an alliance is the transfer of votes, especially when the two parties have been traditional rivals says Dr. Shastri. He further adds that Old Mysore has basically seen a rivalry between the JD(S) and Congress. I feel this has now opened up a front for the BJP and the party is likely to expand its base. This was seen in the recent by-polls at Mandya, where the BJP polled a high percentage after the Congress and JD(S) fought on a common plank.

The Congress and JD(S) are partners only till their government is in power. Once that is done, they become rivals again. At the ground level, the workers have always campaigned against each other.

Traditional rivals to allies: How effective is the Cong-JD(S) alliance in Karnataka

They have had serious differences on a variety of issues including caste says Dr. Shastri. Now the two parties are telling them to come together and the question is will that happen automatically. This according to me would be the biggest challenge, says Dr Shastri.

For the BJP on the other hand, the battle would not be easy. The alliance would pose a challenge. The scenario would not be similar to 2014. In the 2014 election, there is no doubt that Narendra Modi was the big factor. A survey that we conducted suggested that Modi was the factor.

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We also found that there was a high rating for the Siddaramaiah government which had completed one year in Karnataka. The victory of the BJP was owing to the strong anti-incumbency against the UPA and the Modi wave. In our national survey 3 out of 10 said that they would not have voted for the BJP if not for Modi. In Karnataka, 6 out of 10 said that their vote for the BJP was because of Modi.

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