31 Mar 2024

Lok Sabha Election-2024: Discontent After Ticket Distribution growing in BJP in Karnataka, what are other challenges saffron party faces in southern state?

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has set an ambitious goal of securing 50 seats in the upcoming general elections across South Indian states. In the previous 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the party clinched victory in 30 seats, with 25 of them stemming from Karnataka alone. Karnataka has historically been a stronghold for the BJP in general elections, consistently outperforming the Congress and securing the maximum number of seats from 2004 to 2019.

However, discontent has arisen within the BJP following the distribution of tickets. As per the current seat-sharing arrangement, the BJP is slated to contest in 25 seats, while the JD(S) will field candidates in three constituencies (Kolar, Hassan, and Mandya). The BJP has finalized candidates for all its allocated seats, resulting in 13 sitting MPs being denied tickets. Notably, Shobha Karandlaje, an MP, has been relocated from Udupi to Bangalore North. Among the 13 MPs denied tickets, majority of them have served for two terms.

Karjol's candidacy faces opposition 

The announcement of Govind Karjol as the BJP candidate for the Chitradurga Lok Sabha seat, replacing incumbent MP A Narayanaswamy, has sparked internal dissent. This dissent has been particularly voiced by aspirant MC Raghuchandan, son of Holalkere MLA M Chandrappa, who expressed dissatisfaction towards the party leadership, including former CM BS Yediyurappa.

Karjol's candidacy has faced opposition within the constituency due to his outsider status. Holkere MLA M Chandrappa and aspirant Raghuchandan have criticized party president BY Vijayendra and Yediyurappa for their handling of the ticket allocation. Despite this dissent, BJP leaders are expected to quell rebellion within the party ranks.

Additionally, former deputy chief minister K.S. Eshwarappa expressed disappointment over his son K.E. Kantesh's exclusion from the candidate list. In protest against perceived "dynastic politics in Karnataka," Eshwarappa declared his intention to contest the elections from Shivamogga against Yediyurappa's son B.Y. Vijayendra.

Furthermore, the denial of tickets to supporters of Hindutva proponents such as C.T. Ravi, Pratap Simha, Basanagouda Patil Yatnal, Sadananda Gowda, and Anant Kumar Hegde has stirred discontent. Sadananda Gowda even hinted at the possibility of joining the Congress party.

BJP-JD(S) alliance also in trouble

Aside from internal strife within the BJP, the BJP-JD(S) alliance is also experiencing turbulence. Several JD(S) leaders are displeased with the BJP's delayed announcement of seat-sharing deals and its consideration of nominating Sumalatha Ambreesh from Mandya, a traditional JD(S) stronghold. The longstanding animosity between the two parties, stemming from Kumaraswamy's refusal to concede the CM's chair to Yediyurappa in a power-sharing agreement in 2007, remains fresh in memory.

Siddaramaiah govt fulfilled its promises

The commitments made by the Siddaramaiah administration during the previous assembly election have been fulfilled. These encompass free travel for women, electricity provided at no cost for up to 200 units, an unemployment stipend, financial aid for women, and monthly provisions of free rice for BPL (Below Poverty Line) households. The Congress-led government has allocated ₹50,000 crore in its latest budget to support these initiatives. Thus BJP faces additional challenge as the beneficiaries of the Congress government are likely to support the grand old party during the coming Lok Sabha election-2024.

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