Even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tries to woo the traditional votebank of the Janata Dal(Secular) (JD(S)) the Vokkaligas, the latter is cozying up to the Lingayats.
The Lingayats have been seen as strong supporters of the BJP over the last three decades besides being the traditional rivals to the Vokkaligas for political dominance in the state.
An event titled Sharanarondige Kumaranna (Kumaranna with Sharanas) was organised by the JD(S) on Monday at Krishnaraj assembly constituency and saw HDK cajoling the Lingayats to vote for the JD(s) candidate K V Mallesh.
He sounded apologetic in a bid to please the Lingayats whose disgruntlement with the JD(S) leader goes back to the time he refused to hand over power upon completion of his term to Lingayat stalwart B S Yediyurappa.
Kumaraswamy recollected 'going against his father's will' to form a government with BS Yediyurappa in 2006. His going back on his words at the end of his 20 month term had left the Lingayat community miffed with the treatment meted out to their leader.
Kumaraswamy tried to mend this thread by saying that he was prepared to transfer power but ended up being the scapegoat owing to the situations that prevailed then.
He went on to say that Yediyurappa had expressed his disappointment with the BJP and desire to join the JD(S) but he had advised him against it saying his leadership and all his efforts to build the party would get a setback if he did so.
Trying to paint a positive picture of his relationship with Yediyurappa, he said, "I advised him not to make any hasty decision. We then formed a coalition government.
Pegging it to this, Kumaraswamy appealed to the community for votes for his party's candidate in Krishnaraj saying, "you voted for the BJP all these years seeing B S Yediyurappa. But this time around vote for our candidate K V Mallesh for his goodness".
The constituency as reported has over 50,000 Lingayat votes. As per the 2018 elections there were 239,243 voters in the constituency and saw a 58.86 voter turnout. BJP's S A Ramadas won securing 53.5 per cent of the votes while the JD(S) current candidate came a distant third with just 7.9 per cent of the votes polled.
In a detailed conversation with reporters, H D Kumaraswamy among other topics dwelt on how the BJP had mistreated the leaders of the Veerashaiva/ Lingayat community despite them being the strength of the party.
"The Delhi high command is not the one that built the BJP in Karnataka. It is certain situations that led to the Lingayat community backing B S Yediyurappa that made it happen. But it is for all to see how the party has treated Yediyurappa," he quipped.
"He can say otherwise, but even when he was the CM, the way the party high command kept him waiting for three days, even Basavaraj Bommai is just a CM for namesake, he doesn't even have the power to appoint five ministers.
"This was never the case before even during the Vajpayee Advani era - Karnataka was run by Karnataka leaders unlike today. Which is why I am telling the community to understand what the BJP has done to their leaders," he added.
This time around "Karnataka will have a government of Kannadiga's," said the former CM taking potshots at the BJP state government seeking its central high command's option for everything.
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