May 10th, 2013
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Left loses further in Karnataka while SDPI gains


Karnataka is a state where politicisation has not happened in the right sense of the term. The situation was no different in the just concluded assembly elections either. The usual tactics of the pariwar to garner votes by kindling communal feelings did not work this time. Added to that, they received huge setbacks in their traditional strongholds.

The breaking away of B.S Yediyurappa and the formation of Karnataka Jana Paksha (KJP) meant that Bharateeya Janata Party (BJP) lost all the Lingayat votes. At the same time, Janata Dal Secular (JDS) made unexpected advances. They had given a warning of their strong presence in the last panchayat-muninciapal election also.

When ex-CM and Congress Leader Bangarappa joined JDS leader and Vokkaliga community member Deve Gowda, the Idiga community also came into the JDS fold.

Eventhough Congress leader S.M. Krishna is a Vokkaliga, only few votes came through him, say political observers. In Karnataka, the votes are equally divided between the dalits, the reddy and shetty communities and other religions.

The left in Karnataka has not been able to maintain the gains of the past years. However, Socialist Democratic Party of India (SDPI) has at the same time made huge strides. This election is significant in that it happened at a time when the Karnataka Police and the Sangh Parivar were making demands for investigations into the involvement of SDPI in the Bangalore blasts and the party’s terrorist links. The left has not been able to win even in Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI (M)’ traditional seats.

In the Bagepalli constituency where CPI (M) had big hopes, G.V. Srirama Reddy had to be content with second place with 35,472 votes.During the previous Congress govt’s stont, Reddy has been a strident critic of them both inside and outside the assembly. S.N.Subba Reddy, an independent candidate won the Bagepalli constituency with 66,227 votes. The congress candidate N.Sampangi who won last time, was pushed to the fourth place with 15,491 votes. JDS came in third.

The CPI (M) has alleged that the ruling party and the opposition had traded in votes to defeat Srirama Reddy as it was their common wish to keep him out.

The party has not been able to wrest any seats in any of the constituencies. In K.R. Puram, the party candidate Gouramma is in the fourth place with 1553 votes. The CPI (M) had won this constituency some years back with more than a lakh votes. That time, SuryaNarayana Reddy was the candidate. The place is known for its union activity and the strong presence of Malayalis.

In other relative strongholds like Anekkal, Baindur, Chintamani, Dodda Ballapur, Gouri Bidano, Gulbarga Rural, Kampli, Kolar gold fields and Mangalapuram, the CPI(M) did not have any gains.

The Gulbarga rural is different from the others because it was an area where the left had a feeble presence. They are facing strong opposition in gaining a foothold here. Their candidate and main man in the area, Ambalagi Maruthi Manpedu won 4694 votes.

In places like Mangalore, which are closer to Kerala, the CPI (M) received several setbacks compared to last time. The coastal areas including Mangalore has been a stronghold for Sangh Parivar and Sri Rama Sene. The left parties had to face strong opposition from Hindutva elements to function in this area. However, their candidate came in third only in Mangalore city south constituency.  While the communal riots led by the Parivar boomeranged for RSS and allied groups, it became advantageous for the SDPI. The better performace of SDPI compared to CPI (M) in these areas is testimony to that.

When SDPI won 5805 votes  and came in third in Mangalore, CPI (M) with 3815 votes was pushed to fourth. SDPI came in third in Mangalore city north and fifth in South.

One of the biggest gains for the SDPI was in the Narasimharaja constituency near Mysore. Its candidate Abdul Majeed.K.H. won 29,667 votes and came in second. The congress won with 38,037 votes whereas JDS came in third with 29,180 votes. BJP was in fourth place with 12,443 votes.

SDPI also made gains in Bandhaval, Chamraja, Chikpet, Hunsur, Mangalore, Mangalore city, north, south, Puthur, Shimoga, Sullia, Virajpetta etc. In Bijapur city, it was pushed to 10th place with just 325 votes.

Though other left parties including CPI, CPI (ML LIberation, Redflag, CPI(ML), SUCI were present in the elections, they were not able to make any visible impact. Noteworthy are the gains made by the CPI in  Mudigare were it came in fourth and Bellary city where it was fifth.

The welfare party of the Jamaat Islami also tried its hand in the elections. But they did not make any significant gain from it. When the Welfare party and SDPI came head to head in many constituencies, the gains were made by SDPI. Though Muslim league was also in the fray, it did not make any impact at all.


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