Humiliating defeat in the by-polls to Bangalore Rural and Mandya Lok Sabha constituencies, which are claimed to be “bastions” Janata Dal (Secular) “till Saturday”, point out at some of the wrong decisions, the party leaders took during the run up to “prestigious” electoral battle to wrest both the seats.
By-polls to the two constituencies was a matter of prestige for both ruling and Opposition parties, as; while JD (S) fielded Ms. Anitha Kumaraswamy - daughter-in-law of former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda in Bangalore Rural and Congress fielded actor-turned politician Ramya in Mandya constituencies. Defeat in the two constituencies is being viewed as- JD (S) losing its hold on Vokkaliga heartland.
Second rung leadership in the party is attributing the drubbing in the by-polls to; differences between the national and state presidents of the party and truck with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for short term gains. Defeat in Mandya is also being attributed to campaign by the JD (S) workers on the parental credentials of actor Ramya.
There were alleged differences between state president H.D. Kumaraswamy and national president H.D. Deve Gowda over tie-up and fielding of candidates. At one point of time Mr. Deve Gowda questioned credential of Mr. Kumaraswamy for taking decision on alliance with BJP and according to party sources, though Mr. Kumaraswamy was against fielding his wife Anitha Kumaraswamy, Mr. Gowda insisted her contest.
Other reasons being cited are; minority leaders, especially former minister Zameer Ahmed Khan and Abdul Ajeem staying away from campaign, some leaders deserting the party opposing truck with BJP and prominent leaders from opposition parties including M. Srinivas of BJP, Jedarahalli Krishnappa of KJP, Kalpana Siddaraju and C. Narayanaswamy of JD(S), former speaker Krishna, who quit JD (S) during Assembly polls, joining Congress, besides Samajwadi Party (SP) MLA, C.P. Yogeshwar supporting Congress.
None of the leaders are prepared to speak about the dismal performance of the party, in view resignation of Mr. Kumaraswamy for the posts of party chief and Leader of Opposition in Legislative Assembly and ongoing power crisis in the party.
However, a senior leader who spoke to The Hindu on condition of anonymity said; Congress leaders, especially the Chief Minister Siddaramaiah employed strategies, he learnt from JD (S) national president H.D. Deve Gowda during his long stay in Janata Parivar. “Mr. Siddaramaiah had learnt a lesson during the by-polls held for Chamundeshwari Assembly constituency in 2006, when he quit JD (S) and joined Congress”, he added.
Fielding of D.K. Suresh, brother of Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar in Bangalore Rural and actor Ramya in Mandya is being considered as strategic move in consolidating consolidate Congress strength and sort out differences among the leader. “Mr. Siddaramaiah’s strategy worked out well, while JD (S) committed mistake by joining hands with BJP and attacking Ms. Ramya questioning her parental credentials”, he analysed.
“The poll results points at the fact that some thing is wrong with the functioning of the party. The party’s defeat in its “own backyard” underlines the need to do a serious introspection of the style of functioning. If mistakes are not corrected, party will face serious crisis. We cannot afford to take risks, when the general election to Lok Sabha fast approaching”, he said.
Another leader said that people rejected not only “united opposition” experiment, but also opportunistic politics. “It is time to introspect and gain the confidence of electorates. The defeat would have not mattered, had party fought election on its own, as ruling party winning in by polls is not a new phenomenon”, he asserted. “Instead of benefitting the party, the tie-up cost heavily for the party. Voters did not approve the move of all opposition giving go by to their ideologies”, he added.