Was not fielding Vijayendra from Varuna a strategic blunder by the BJP?
There were a series of meetings that were held to iron out the problems that the party is facing in the Mysore region after B S Yeddyurappa's son, Vijayendra was denied a ticket to contest from the Varuna assembly constituency.
It was promising to be an interesting fight as Vijayendra would have taken on Dr. Yathindra, son of Siddaramaiah. Moreover it was also promising to be a tough fight.
Vijayendra had camped in the constituency and had also done plenty of ground work. It was almost a given that he would be the contender for that seat. There was sudden twist in the tale and Yeddyurappa last week made the announcement that his son would not contest the elections. This led to a backlash and the police had to resort to a lathi charge to clear out the protestors.
While Yeddyurappa continues to make pleas to the workers of the region to continue to work for the party and ensure that the BJP wins, the situation on the ground is different. A lot many workers are completely demoralised. All the work we had put in after Vijayendra came down has gone down the drain. We do not feel like working now, they also say.
To top it there was a NOTA campaign carried out by the BJP workers in the Mysore and Chamrajnagar districts. Do not vote for Lotus opt for NOTA, they said. The workers said that they wanted to teach the BJP a lesson for not choosing Vijayendra as the Varuna candidate. Their campaign spread on Facebook and WhatsApp and this put the BJP in an embarrassing situation. In fact one poster also went on to show an inverted Lotus.
Post the announcement when Vijayendra's supporters went on a rampage, the party felt that it was a one-off incident. However the issue is not dying down and the best brains in the BJP are finding a way out of this crisis. There is also a considerable amount of anger after one of Vijayendra's supporter Gayappa committed suicide on Thursday. Vijayendra's appeal to the workers has also fallen on deaf ears. He had said that he would continue to work in the constituency and was not disappointed by the decision.
An avoidable situation:
Many political observers say that this was a completely avoidable situation. Vijayendra had caused ripples in the region. The Congress too would have been on the back-foot as it would have kept Siddaramaiah busy in these regions.
Siddaramaiah is already facing a tough challenge in his own constituency at Chamundeshwari. If Vijayendra was in the race at Varuna, Siddaramaiah would have been busier tried to ensure that his son wins.
It is also said that decision by the BJP has sent a wrong message to the voters of the region and more importantly the workers who are the back-bone of a campaign. The problem that the BJP faces today in this region is that even the most committed worker has lost interest in the campaign. The energy is missing and this is crucial to galvanise the votes.
There is a lot of soul searching and course correction that the BJP would have to do in a bid to overcome this mess. The party which normally struggles in this region due to the high concentration of Vokkaliga votes was hoping to turn the tables around. Moreover an opinion poll showed a slight improvement in the tally of the BJP where the Vokkaliga votes were concerned.
With time running, the BJP would have to work out some magic in a bid to put this issue to rest and ensure that the workers are back on the campaign trail.
|Karnataka Assembly Election dates|
|Date of notification||April 17|
|Last date to file nominations||April 24|
|Last date to withdraw nominations||April 27|
|Date of polling||May 12|
|Date of counting||May 15|