New Delhi: The BJP believes that it can make a comeback in Karnataka thanks to the “inherent contradictions” in the Congress-JD(S) alliance in the state. The marathon three-day political slugfest in the state culminated in B S Yeddyurappa resigning as chief minister on Saturday after he failed to muster support of seven additional MLAs to ensure he remained in office.
"We may have lost the battle, but we will win the war," is how a party leader put it, referring to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. A number of BJP leaders said their efforts to form a government in Karnataka were driven by two factors -- first, they believed the people's mandate was in the favour of their party. Second, a government in the state would have bolstered its prospects for political successes in other parts of south India where, barring Karnataka, the saffron party has never posed a serious challenge to its rivals. They believe the consolidation of a section of voters, especially the Lingayats, behind the BJP will keep the party in pole position in the state.
The dramatic collapse of the three-day Yeddyurappa government is being viewed as a setback to the party, with the opposition parties claiming that the BJP tried to poach their MLAs but failed miserably. The BJP has denied the allegations.
Though its hopes of forming a government in Karnataka have been swatted down, the BJP believes an amalgamation of some factors will help it engineer a comeback in the state. A BJP leader said the JD(S) and the Congress are the main political rivals of each other, and their alliance is bound to be “unsuccessful” at the ground level because of the "competing interests" of their support groups.
“Bonhomie between the top leaders of two parties may not translate into consolidation of their vote bases, especially when they have always worked against each other. There are inherent contradictions in the alliance,” another BJP leader said. Most of the JD(S) candidates faced Congress nominees as their main rivals in the elections, he said.
The BJP's presence is limited in the Old Mysore region, the Vokkaliga heartland and a JD(S) stronghold. An alliance between two rivals would help the BJP capture more space in the region, he said. Sources said the BJP believes that the Lingayats and a few other groups will further consolidate behind the party in the wake of the JD(S) and the Congress, two "arch rivals", joining hands to keep it out of power.
The alliance claims support of 117 MLAs in the 224-member House with an effective strength of 221. The political instability in the state stemmed from a fractured verdict the electorate gave on May 15, with the BJP emerging as the single-largest party but falling short of a majority.
The Congress, which finished second with 78 seats, moved swiftly and stitched an alliance with 37-member JD(S), and even backed its leader H D Kumaraswamy for chief ministership. BJP president Amit Shah had yesterday said that a government of an “unholy” alliance was unlikely to last long.