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Will the BJP benefit from lack of alliance chemistry in Old Mysore region?

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New Delhi, Apr 16: 14 Lok Sabha constituencies will go to polls in Karnataka on April 18. In all Karnataka has 28 Lok Sabha constituencies and on Thursday, 12 constituencies in the old Mysore region will go to polls.

Polling will also be held in the Shimoga and Davangere seats. The old Mysore region in particular will witness an interesting contest as this is considered to be a stronghold of the Congress and JD(S), which is fighting the elections together.

Will the BJP benefit from lack of alliance chemistry in Old Mysore region?

In this region, it is the Vokkaligas who call the shots. They make up for 11.82 per cent of the population in Karnataka and heavily concentrated in the old Mysore region. The region has never been a stronghold for the BJP and most of the votes have been polled by either the Congress or JD(S), which have a strong backing of the Vokkaligas.

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The old Mysore region comprises both Bangalore urban and rural, Mysore, Mandya, Hassan, Chamrajnagar, Ramanagar, Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Kodagu and Chikkamagaluru. It is a crucial zone and is the biggest sub-region in the state of Karnataka.

The vote share:

One of the key constituencies in this region is the Mysore-Kodagu Lok Sabha parliamentary seat. The last time Prathap Simha 5,03,908 votes with a vote share of 43.45 per cent. He defeated A H Vishwanath of the Congress who ended up with a vote share of 40.72. The JD(S) represented by Chandrashekaraiah ended up with a vote share of 11.95 per cent.

If one were to add up the vote share of the JD(S) and Congress, it is clear that they are ahead of the BJP. However in alliances, the chemistry needs to reflect on the ground and this has been a challenge for the JD(S) and Congress not just in Mysore-Kodagu, but in Mandya as well.

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In the Mysore seat, C H Vijayshankar is facing problems as the JD(S) workers are upset that their candidate did not get a ticket. For the alliance it would be an uphill task to ensure that the votes of both the parties end up with the Congress candidate. This hostility of the JD(S) workers towards Vijayshankar is working in favour of the BJP.

The BJP would also be mindful of the fact that in 2014, it put up an impressive performance thanks to the huge Modi wave. A survey conducted by the CSDS in 2014 revealed that every 10 votes in Karnataka would not have voted for the BJP in 2014 had it not been for Modi.

In the 2008 Karnataka assembly elections, the BJP put up a good performance in the Old Mysore region and secured 27.5 per cent of the votes. However in 2013 the percentage was down to 16 and the KJP that had broken away from the BJP ended up with 6.7 per cent in this region.

A stronghold:

The southern region of Karnataka has 51 assembly constituencies. In most of these seats those candidates who finish first and second get around 70 per cent of the votes. In almost all occasions, it has been the JD(S) and Congress, which have finished first in this region and the BJP has been a distant third.

While the numbers are stacked up in favour of the JD(S) and Congress in this region, the big question is will the political chemistry work on the ground level. What would matter is the transfer of votes in an alliance, especially when both the JD(S) and Congress have been traditional rival eyeing a similar a vote bank.

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The BJP would take a lot of hope from the results in the recently held Mandya by-elections, where it polled a very high percentage of votes after the JD(S) and Congress fought the elections together.

While the two parties are together in the government and are contesting the elections together, the issue is that their workers on the ground have always campaigned against each other. Analysts point out that the workers would not have automatically come together due to the alliance and this is the chemistry that has been lacking.

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