A Cardiologist Breached The 'DK' Bastion In Style: Why We Need To Talk About The Bangalore Rural Result

Sharan Setty

Jun 12, 2024, 05:16 PM | Updated 05:46 PM IST

Newly elected MP from Bangalore Rural, Dr C N Manjunath.
Newly elected MP from Bangalore Rural, Dr C N Manjunath.
  • Dr C N Manjunath defeated Congress' D K Suresh by more than 2.6 lakh votes.
  • The DK brothers — Shivakumar and Suresh are a powerhouse in Karnataka politics.

    The elder one, Shivakumar, once defeated H D Deve Gowda in his backyard, Kanakapura, in a famous win in the 1989 assembly elections. Since then, there has been no turning back.

    From saving Congress state governments in many states including his own to ensuring Ahmed Patel's Rajya Sabha renomination, the Gandhi family has a trust-worthy aide in D K Shivakumar.

    While his younger brother Suresh is a late political entrant, he is no lightweight either.

    Since the 2013 by-elections, he has won the Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha constituency by a big margin. While the tussle for power in the Vokkaliga belt between the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) has been ongoing for years, the Bharatiya Janata Party has made its latest entry into the scene with Dr C N Manjunath's astounding win from the Bangalore Rural PC.

    Manjunath, who served as the Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences' director, was named the BJP-JD(S) alliance's candidate. He also happens to be former prime minister H D Deve Gowda's son-in-law and H D Kumaraswamy's brother-in-law.

    This cardiologist, praised by Obama, is fighting freebies with free surgeries: Ground report from Bangalore Rural

    With a Padma Shri and praise from President Barack Obama, Manjunath used his reputation as a good doctor who helps people and offers free surgeries to catapult his sudden rise in the political scene.

    Rumours have it that the current Congress government denied his extension as the director of Jayadeva, because of which Manjunath was considered taking up an occupation in his post-retirement life.

    The aforementioned Swarajya ground report filed on 20 April, 2024, by this author predicted Manjunath's possible victory from the Congress bastion, much before anyone else could even consider the possibility that a victory was achievable.

    The BJP's decision to field Manjunath on their party ticket and not the JD(S) may have created an excitement among the urban voters of the constituency who are generally blamed for not turning up during the polling day. On the other hand, the JD(S) voters will still loyally stand with the party and the candidate — especially because 'Dodd Gowdru' has blessed him. It was already a 'prestige' issue for the Deve Gowda family.

    Regardless, the turnout was good in assemblies like Bangalore South, and Rajarajeshwari Nagara — enough to negate Suresh's (predicted) lead of one lakh votes from Kanakapura alone. But even that did not happen. The voters in Kanakapura and Ramanagara only added to increasing the BJP's margin. While the Congress still gained leads from these two constituencies, it was reduced by thousands. Eventually, Dr Manjunath was elected by a margin of approximately 2.7 lakh votes.

    Manjunath's goodwill as a cardiologist serving at Jayadeva for decades and his family connections have helped him defeat a sitting MP in a Congress bastion that was considered impenetrable for years.

    We also mentioned how Manjunath had a separate 'team' that worked to pacify disgruntled Congress leaders and secretly get them to work for the BJP-JD(S) alliance at the booth level, which paid off dividends.

    In every rally and road show, Manjunath was accompanied by local leaders, and family members and had something ready to say to woo the voters. Never in his life has this author seen a first-time candidate be so well-versed with his lines and face the public so confidently before.

    It was almost as if everything was preempted and it worked out exactly the way Manjunath would wish for it to.

    Not to mention, there was palpable anger and anti-incumbency in the constituency and Suresh had not done himself a favour by getting involved in a controversy with the separate 'South India' remarks he made after the conclusion of the Parliament session in New Delhi.

    While there was palpable anger against Suresh for his comments hinting at a 'separate' South India, public sympathy for H D Kumaraswamy was increasing since he 'realised' his mistake of allying with the Congress and forming the government only to be felled later.

    His public speeches, 'introspection' in news interviews and his loyal voters fearing a possible political exile of the Gowda family saw an opportunity where HDK and Manjunath could potentially end up holding important cabinet portfolios after winning in the Lok Sabha elections.

    All these factors combined, it seems to have gone Manjunath's way. The BJP is happy too, since they have made their inroads into the Vokkaliga belt after decades of unsuccessful attempts.

    The possibility of a Manjunath victory was always present, but even his team did not expect a margin of 2.6 lakh votes.

    Sharan Setty (Sharan K A) is an Associate Editor at Swarajya. He tweets at @sharansetty2.

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