BENGALURU — For about two months, RSS-BJP combine and its affiliates have been giving strong, sometimes provocative, statements over the Ayodhya issue. Since after the Supreme Court adjourned the case ten days ago, the entire Sangh Parivar has gone ‘berserk’ asking the government to bring an ordinance for construction of Ram Temple without waiting for the court verdict. Almost round the clock, ‘obedient’ TV channels have been broadcasting their strong soundbites over the issue. But this all seems to have failed to impress the lakhs of people in Karnataka, and BJP lost four out of five seats that went to poll.
The Karnataka by-polls brought a bumper Diwali gift for the ruling Congress-JDS alliance as it won two Lok Sabha seats, including the Ballari Lok Sabha seat that it snatched from BJP while the saffron party just managed to retain the Shivamogga Lok Sabha seat. The ruling combine also retained the two Assembly seats.
But what is more shocking for BJP than mere defeat is the sharp fall in its vote share in the three Lok Sabha seats compared to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
BJP had won Shivamogga Lok Sabha seat in 2014 with a huge margin of 3.63 lakh votes but this time it could retain the seat with a margin of 52,148 votes. The party had won the Ballari Lok Sabha seat also in 2014 with a margin of 85,144 votes. But this time, the seat has been snatched from it by Congress with an impressive margin of 2.43 lakh votes. That voters have posed faith in the Congress-JDS alliance is clearly visible in Mandya Lok Sabha constituency also. This seat was won by JDS in 2014 with meagre margin of 5,518 votes. However, the party has retained the seat with the whopping margin of 3.24 lakh votes.
The results are a clear indication from people that they won’t be influenced by emotional and religious issues being raised with political motives.
Several eminent people including journalists went to social media to react over the Karnataka results:
The Karnataka bypolls indicate that we are at the endgame of this brutal, corrupt&lawless regime which has destroyed all institutions, values&even civilised discourse. It threatens democracy& civilization itself. The results of 5 states in Dec will be the last nail in it's coffin
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) November 7, 2018
Dead silence among the IT cell & some panna pramukhs. They are pretending that #KarnatakaByElection2018Results did not happen.
— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) November 6, 2018
News Today: 9 pm: the Karnataka bypoll rout: Cong-JD S alliance politics wins out or is BJP aura fading? Newsmaker: @DKShivakumar ; Ayodhya Diwali for political gain or cultural revival? Is cracker ban working on ground? @IndiaToday
— Rajdeep Sardesai (@sardesairajdeep) November 6, 2018
In next four weeks, five states, including three currently held by BJP, are going to Assembly polls. The ruling BJP is facing tough fight from Congress in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesha and Chhattisgarh. Several media surveys have predicted Congress win in all the three states.
Observers say that Ram Mandir issue was on 37th page of BJP’s 38-page manifesto in 2014 Lok Sabha polls but just months before the 2019 polls, the issue has taken centerstage. This all because the big promises made by Narendra Modi during 2014 Lok Sabha campaigns about job, black money and corruption remain unfulfilled.
But it remains to be seen if voters in those five states get swayed by the rhetoric or give importance to basic and local issues of development.