The JD(S)-Congress alliance in Karnataka was expected to be a fragile one, not supposed to last till the crucial 2019 general election. At least, the BJP camp believed so firmly.
Former chief minister Siddaramaiah's constant quibbling with current Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy only reaffirmed that line of thinking. The performance of the JD(S)-Congress alliance in the Karnataka bypolls, however, has doused any hope of the alliance falling apart in a hurry.
In the elections held for three Lok Sabha and two Assembly constituencies, the JD(S)-Congress alliance scored significant victories. It will act as a booster for the Congress as well as the JD(S) in their attempt to form a ‘Mahagathbandhan’ (grand alliance) ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha election.
While out of total five seats (both Lok Sabha and Assembly), the JD(S) and the Congress have won four, the BJP managed to win only one.
Of the three Lok Sabha seats, the Congress candidate VS Urgappa has won Ballari and the JD(S) candidate L Shivarame Gowda has won Mandya. The sole winner from the BJP, BY Raghavendra, has won the Shivamogga seat by defeating his JD(S) rival Madhu Bangarappa. Of the two Assembly seats, JD(S) candidate Anitha Kumaraswamy, wife of Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, has won Ramanagara and Congress’ Anand Nyamagouda has won Jamnakhandi.
When the two parties joined hands post the 2018 Karnataka Assembly election to keep BJP out of power in the state, it was spoken of like an alliance of top leaders in either party, not a meeting of minds of the grassroots level workers of both. Experts said that the rivalry among followers of the two parties was so strong that the transfer of Congress votes to the JD(S) candidate and vice versa was impossible. The latest results don't reflect it. It can only mean bad news for the BJP. The performance in stronghold Ballari, a seat the party has held since 2004, is a cause for worry in particular.
As the trends became clear, HD Kumaraswamy, while congratulating Congress and JD(S) leaders, said, “BJP calls JD(S)-Congress coalition ‘Apavitra Maitri’. Today that contention has been nullified. These elections were the first step that JD(S) would work with Congress on all the Lok Sabha seats to win all of them. That’s our goal. This is not an empty boast just because we have won today. This is the confidence of people in us. This win is not making us arrogant.”
While, the former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah has termed bypolls victory as Karnataka’s Diwali gift to Congress and JD(S), former finance minister and senior Congress leader, P Chidambaram has compared the JD(S)-Congress alliance victory with that of a cricket test match series under the captaincy of Virat Kohli.
4-1 result (unsure about Shimoga LS) in Karnataka looks like a Test series win under Virat Kohli. Coalition has delivered.
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) November 6, 2018
"The by-elections are considered as important (element) for the coalition government, and this success in by-elections is the success of coalition government,” remarked Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president, Dinesh Gundu Rao.
The result also confirms the trend that if opposition parties form an alliance then the BJP finds itself on a weaker wicket. The message from Karnataka is certain to give the talks of a secular grand alliance for 2019 polls a boost. Such an alliance in several bypolls, including in Uttar Pradesh, has put the saffron party on a losing streak over the last couple of years. The BJP may dismiss the results, but it needs to be careful.
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Updated Date: Nov 06, 2018 20:45:40 IST