BJP leaders see multiple factors for decline in vote share in 2024 Lok Sabha polls in Dakshina Kannada

While some attributed the drop to factors like SDPI staying away from the fray and even the weather, others held that the guarantee schemes of the Congress and the campaign for NOTA votes could have impacted the numbers

Updated - June 10, 2024 09:28 am IST

Published - June 09, 2024 11:16 pm IST - MANGALURU

Capt. Ganesh Karnik

Capt. Ganesh Karnik | Photo Credit: H S MANJUNATH

Dissecting reasons for decrease in its vote share in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections in Dakshina Kannada, the BJP leaders highlight a common thread of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) remaining away from the fray, among other factors.

The BJP leaders were asserting that the target of the party is to win the elections with a margin of three lakh votes.

Captain Ganesh Karnik, former MLC who was the BJP in-charge for Lok Sabha elections in Dakshina Kannada, said that the SDPI which contested the 2019 polls had bagged 46,339 votes (3.48%). A majority of these votes shifted to the Congress this time as it did not contest. Without naming any community in particular he said, “People of a community came and voted in large numbers this time for Congress. The community leaders made all efforts to ensure that there was 100% voting for the grand old party. Such a turn out was not seen in earlier elections.”

Captain Karnik said that though it may appear silly, it is a fact that some of the voters did not turn up for voting as the weather was quite hot on the voting day of April 26. The BJP lost a few votes owing to this reason too. “I don’t think the guarantee schemes of the Congress helped the Opposition party to make into the vote share of the BJP,” the former MLC said.

On the other hand, Satish Kumpala, president, Dakshina Kannada unit of the BJP and a former vice-president of Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat, said that it appears guarantee schemes did help the Congress to get some votes.

The campaign for NOTA votes hit the vote share of the saffron party to some extent, he added, alleging that the Congress and the SDPI were hand in glove in this.

Other sources in the BJP attributed the decline in vote share to various other factors.

They said that the footsoldiers of the party were not active this time and failed to reach out to voters due to organisational reasons. Both the election candidate and the district unit office-bearers were new. Hence, it needed some time to gel and work together.

At the same time, sources said, an impression was created that the party had factionalism with two factions – one led by Nalin Kumar Kateel, former president of State unit and who was the Member of Parliament, and the other led by the candidate Captain Brijesh Chowta who is also the Secretary of the State unit. The party MLAs did not support Captain Chowta.

There was also complacency and over confidence among some party workers that the “Modi factor” will work out.

A section of Billavas, who are in large number in the constituency, probably voted for the Congress candidate belonging to their community thus the BJP vote share shifted to some extent to the Congress.

In the 2019 election, the fight was between two Bunt community candidates and in this election it was between Bunt (BJP) and Billava community (Congress) candidate which could have resulted in the shifting of votes, sources said, adding that footsoldiers remaining non-active in the campaign was visible.

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