Fresh Faces, Experience Of 3 Former CMs — BJP Will Be Pleased With Its Karnataka Results

Sharan Setty

Jun 06, 2024, 01:56 PM | Updated 08:50 PM IST

L to R: Capt. Brijesh Chowta, Dr Manjunath, Yaduveer Wodiyar, Basavaraj Bommai, H D Kumaraswamy and Jagadish Shettar.
L to R: Capt. Brijesh Chowta, Dr Manjunath, Yaduveer Wodiyar, Basavaraj Bommai, H D Kumaraswamy and Jagadish Shettar.
  • For 2024, fresh faces and experienced leaders position BJP for success.
  • For the longest time, Karnataka has been a bastion of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the south during the general elections. Since 1999, the party has performed well in the national elections, voting BJP MPs into power.

    In 2019, the BJP achieved its best results by sending 25 MPs to the Indian parliament and reducing the then Congress-JD(S) alliance to merely two seats.

    Apart from Bangalore Rural and Hassan, the alliance could not make any impact, despite the AHINDA and Vokkaliga votes coming together. Such was the extent of the Modi wave, that the BJP withstood anti-incumbency among other factors and yet performed well.

    After that, there was a crisis within the state unit, as several camps were involved in infighting for control of the leadership. The BJP was never happy about former Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa exerting an influence over the state unit but had to accommodate him as they have already faced rout once when they ignored him.

    But the 2024 general elections in Karnataka seem to have gone their way, as the BJP now gets fresh faces like Dr C N Manjunath, Yaduveer Chamaraja Wodiyar, and Captain Brijesh Chowta while retaining and promoting some experienced players like H D Kumaraswamy, Basavaraj Bommai and Jagadish Shettar to national politics.

    Although B Y Vijayendra is the president of the state unit, one knows for certain that stalwarts like BSY and H D Deve Gowda still hold a commanding influence over their heirs and parties — enough to do good or do some damage.

    Nevertheless, this unity in the cadre and peace between BSY and the central leadership seems to have been finally achieved, as circumstances have brought them to work together and deliver the results.

    BSY regains the reigns in Karnataka for the foreseeable future, and the Modi 3.0 cabinet will have fresh new faces and the experience of three former CMs to be able to help the party navigate through difficult situations.

    With 19 seats going to the NDA's kitty, the BJP will be happy as they are finally able to consolidate the Lingayat and Vokkaliga votes at the same time, without having to worry about any one community deserting them at the time of elections.

    With the JD(S) going through an internal turmoil of its own, the BJP is happy to observe that there exists a vacuum in the Old Mysore region that they can slowly tap into. This election also marks a shift of the state leadership being transferred to the centre, as Bommai, Shettar and others will now focus on national affairs, rather than deal with party politics at a state level.

    While it remains to be seen whether the alliance will truly sustain or not, but at least for the foreseeable future, it looks like the JD(S) is here to stay. There is near-complete complementarity between the voters of both parties in terms of both geography and social groups.

    What may happen before the 2028 Karnataka assembly elections, one can never predict, as all three parties in the state are going through a churn.

    With D K Suresh's loss, D K Shivakumar's ambitions to become the next chief minister may not come so easily. At the same time, Siddaramaiah's AHINDA politics has not come to the Congress' rescue this time, and the pro-Kannada and regional card has not worked in their favour.

    In a sense, all the parties have also failed to nurture the next generation of leadership and iron out issues before any instability troubles the parties.

    All in all, the next few years are going to be quite interesting to watch, as Karnataka will go through a churn in terms of political leadership.

    But as far as the 2024 election results are concerned, the BJP can breath a sigh of relief and look forward to 2028 with some hope.

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

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