How the saffron party lost its edge | india | Hindustan Times
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How the saffron party lost its edge

With a drubbing in the Karnataka assembly polls today, the BJP — managing 40 seats out of 223 — has frittered away a historic win that came its way in 2008, reports Vikas Pathak.

india Updated: May 08, 2013 23:09 IST
Vikas Pathak

With a drubbing in the Karnataka assembly polls on Wednesday, the BJP — managing 40 seats out of 223 — has frittered away a historic win that came its way in 2008.

The loss of Karnataka is likely to cost the BJP dearly for two reasons. One, the state had provided it the highest number of Lok Sabha MPs (18) in 2009 from among all states. Without these, the party’s tally would have fallen to two digits. Two, Karnataka was also ideologically crucial for the saffron party as its first southern stronghold, without which it looks less diverse and more as a central, western and north Indian party.

The exit of a sulking BS Yeddyurappa, angry that he was asked to step down as chief minister after a damning Lokayukta report, made the party lose the support of the powerful Lingayat community, pegged at about 17 % of the state’s population.

The ex-CM may have cost the BJP around 37 seats. Adding the votes of the parties of Yeddyurappa and Reddy brothers’ aide B Sriramulu to the BJP’s vote share would have made the saffron party win. And these are apart from the seats won by the two rebel parties: six and four, respectively.

“Our votes got divided as the party split into three,” senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu accepted. The BJP government in Karnataka was marred by infighting and repeated charges of corruption, which failed to create a favourable impression among people.