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Karnataka Election Result: Siddaramaiah’s Political Decisions Backfired and Hurt Congress in Old Mysore Region

After losing Chamundeshwari by a huge margin and scraping through in Badami, Siddaramaiah’s only solace is his only son Dr Yatheendra making it to the state Assembly. It is an irony that his arch-rivals, the Gowda clan, might rule Karnataka with his party’s support and he will have watch it from the sidelines.

D P Satish | News18.comdp_satish

Updated:May 16, 2018, 8:08 AM IST
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Karnataka Election Result: Siddaramaiah’s Political Decisions Backfired and Hurt Congress in Old Mysore Region
File photo of Lingayat seers meeting Siddaramaiah.
Bengaluru: The one thing that did not work for the Congress in Karnataka was Siddaramaiah. Most other things seem to have worked for them. Siddaramaiah’s move for separate religion status to Lingayats backfired and his decision to take on the Gowda clan hurt the Congress in old Mysore. Also, upsetting senior Congress leaders like H Vishwanath, V Srinivasaprasad and Ambareesh from old Mysore region worked against the party.

Despite some serious opposition within the party, Siddaramaiah supported the separate religion movement and even sent a recommendation to the Centre. The Lingayats within the Congress were divided over it. While the senior-most MLA Shamanur Shivashankarappa and his son MLA S S Mallikarjuna opposed it, Water Resources minister M B Patil backed it launching a big attack on the father and son.

According to analysts that decision actually united the Lingayats against the Congress and they threw their weight behind Yeddyurappa, the top Lingayat leader in the state. Many sub-sects in the community came together and seem to have voted for the BJP en masse.

“We had told him not to get into Lingayat religion issue. But he went ahead with it thinking it will break the BJP vote bank. It has now backfired. Before he started this Lingayat religion thing, many Lingayats were not with the BJP. They came back (to the BJP) after it became a big issue,” said a senior Dalit leader of the Congress.

Siddaramaiah and Rahul Gandhi’s attacks on the Gowdas calling them “B” team of the BJP also went against the Congress in old Mysore region and also a few seats in the rest of Karnataka where JD(S) allegedly transferred its votes to the BJP to defeat the Congress candidates.

“Deve Gowda is the tallest Vokkaliga leader. Insulting him in election speeches infuriated the Vokkaligas and they backed the JD(S) to take revenge on Siddaramaiah, not the Congress. In his personal fight with the Gowda family, party became a collateral damage,” said a Vokkaliga MP from the Congress.

Siddaramaiah had poached seven JD(S) MLAs and had fielded them on Congress tickets. Out of them only three managed to win. The Gowdas made sure the Congress was defeated in several seats and some went to the BJP.

Veteran Congress leader and former minister H Vishwanath was made to leave the party by Siddaramaiah over personal differences. Vishwanath, a fellow Kuruba, joined the JD(S) and won from Hunsur. He had played a major role in bringing Siddaramaiah into the Congress from the JD(S) in 2006.

A respected Dalit leader and senior minister V Srinivasaprasad was sacked by Siddaramaiah and he joined the BJP. Contesting on a BJP ticket, his son-in-law defeated the Congress MLA in Nanjanagud in Mysore district.

Cine star-turned-politician Ambareesh refused to contest in this election from Mandya and backed the JD(S) ensuring the decimation of Congress in the entire district. He had openly attacked Siddaramaiah for dropping him from the Cabinet two years ago.

It is a fact that Siddaramaiah is courageous and took the BJP head on during campaigning. He had believed that AHINDA (minorities, backward classes, SCs, STs) who constitute about 65% of the total population in the state would back him. But the results prove that there was a three-way split and the BJP also bagged substantial number of these votes.

A Congress MLA who was re-elected said that Siddaramaiah had done a lot of good work and it had helped his party win at least 80 seats. “We have narrowly lost. We feel so bad. Some of his decisions went against us. Some favoured us,” said the MLA.

After losing Chamundeshwari by a huge margin and scraping through in Badami, Siddaramaiah’s only solace is his only son Dr Yatheendra making it to the state Assembly. It is an irony that his arch-rivals, the Gowda clan, might rule Karnataka with his party’s support and he will have watch it from the sidelines.

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| Edited by: Mayur Borah
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