Rama Krishna Sangem
Why CM KCR hasn’t gone for campaigning in Karnataka assembly elections? This question is uppermost in minds of many as the open canvassing comes to an end today – May 8, Monday. Karnataka goes to polls on May 10, Wednesday and results will be out by afternoon of May 13, Saturday. Many thought KCR, especially after he launched BRS (Bharat Rashtra Samithi) would campaign in Karnataka.
Even former PM and JD(S) patriarch HD Deve Gowda too a few days ago announced in Bangalore that KCR would come to campaign for his party candidates. Former CM and JD(S) leader Kumaraswamy invited KCR as well as Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee for canvassing for his candidates. Not surprisingly, both haven’t gone, though their reasons are different.
I think, KCR has taken a well thought decision to stay away from Karnataka polls this time for a purpose. At the same time, his three meeting in neighboring Maharashtra too raised eyebrows among political circles. Some Congress and BJP leaders had asked whey he is going to Maharashtra at a time when elections are being held in Karnataka. Here are some reasons for KCR’s absence from direct participation in Karnataka assembly elections.
First, KCR’s BRS is not contesting the elections. KCR has changed the name and nature of TRS to BRS and from regional to national only on October 9, 2022. Initially, KCR wanted to participate in polls, in alliance with JD(S), albeit in some areas of northern Karnataka or the seats where Telugu speaking people are in large numbers. But, this hasn’t happened as there was no clarity on who should contest on what symbol etc. So, there was no clarity on the role of BRS.
Second, this lack of clarity led to BRS completely staying away from contesting the polls. Now, KCR has only one option – to canvass for JD(S). Naturally, Kumaraswamy wants KCR to address meetings in northern Karnataka areas or where Telugu people are concentrated. Kumaraswamy doesn’t need KCR in JD(S) strongholds like Mandya, Hasan etc. KCR has no option but to go to areas where JD(S) is not strong. Such areas are Congress strongholds.
Third, if KCR does it, his presence may fetch votes for JD(S) but that will dent the prospects of Congress, which is planning to come to power, removing BJP government in the State. KCR is clear that BJP is his No 1 enemy, so he won’t do anything that will benefit the saffron party, directly or indirectly. If Congress loses, tomorrow the party will blame KCR for their defeat and describe him as B Team of BJP.
Fourth, If KCR addresses some meetings in Karnataka where JD(S) in strong and simply ask people to vote out BJP, then also it will not have much impact. Anyway, the electoral winning prospects of JD(S) are limited to a range of 25-34 seats, in an assembly of 224 MLAs. That means, KCR will have to go to support a party that may not win more than 10 per cent seats the assembly. KCR doesn’t want to play that smaller role.
Fifth, KCR has done some surrogate canvassing for JD(S) or even Congress in Karnataka by addressing three rallies in Maharashtra recently, where he attacked BJP for all the problems faced by the country. This is enough for both the parties to cash in on the general tone of KCR against BJP. Of course, KCR’s senior minister Harish Rao last month hosted an Iftar in Siddipet where JD(S) Karnataka president CM Ibrahim was present.
That has enough political messaging. Summing up the developments, a political analyst, with vast experience in top bureaucracy said: “CM KCR never does anything that will benefit BJP in anyway. He will always take decisions only considering all aspects of an issue. Not going to Karnataka is not a random or sudden decision, it is backed by enough study”.