Setback for Congress in Cauvery basin

The only comfort for it is the victory in Chamarajanagar

Updated - November 17, 2021 04:12 am IST

Published - May 17, 2014 04:28 am IST - MYSORE:

The Congress citadel in the Cauvery basin is under threat as the party has fared badly in the parliamentary elections and lost in Mysore, Mandya and Hassan, though it managed to retain only the Chamarajanagar (SC) seat.

In Mysore, Pratap Simha of the BJP, who is a former journalist and a new entrant to politics, wrested the seat from the Congress by defeating veteran politician A.H. Vishwanath.

This is a major setback for the Congress on two counts: Mysore traditionally is a Congress bastion and the party has won on eight occasions in the 10 elections held between 1977 and 2009, and the BJP has won on two occasions in the recent times — in 1998 and 2004. And this is the third time that the BJP has breached the Congress fortress.

More importantly, Mysore is the home turf of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who was expected to stem the Modi wave in the region view of his perceived popularity among Kurubas, Dalits and religious minorities, who had consolidated in favour of the Congress during the previous elections.

Again, the series of social welfare projects launched by Mr. Siddaramaiah such as Anna Bhagya and Ksheera Bhagya was expected to translate into a rich harvest of votes, but it did not happen.

The Janata Dal (Secular) wrested the Mandya Lok Sabha seat from the Congress. JD(S) candidate C.S. Puttaraju won a hard-fought battle against incumbent MP and actress Ramya of the Congress and won by a slender margin of 5,518 votes.

The setback in Mandya is a rude shock to the Congress which had won the seat in the byelection in August 2013 as the seat fell vacant consequent to the then MP N. Cheluvaraya Swamy resigning from the post to contest the Assembly elections.

The Congress, which was expected to retain the seat, had launched a high-decibel and high profile campaign to ensure Ms. Ramya’s victory. The voters, however, favoured Mr. Puttaraju.

The only comfort for the Congress was the victory in Chamarajanagar where the incumbent MP, R. Dhruvanarayana defeated A.R. Krishnamurthy of the BJP by over 1.41 lakh votes in what was a one-sided contest.

Retains seat

JD(S) supremo and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda retained the Hassan seat as expected.

He won by a margin of over 1 lakh votes against his nearest rival A. Manju of the Congress.

With only one seat in its kitty in the Cauvery basin, it is the Congress which has more reasons to worry.

For, the challenge posed by the JD(S) as a formidable political rival in the region remains and with the BJP chipping at its heels in Mysore, it is the Congress vote bank which may shrink in southern Karnataka.

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