A Lone Bull Pulls The Party’s Electoral Yoke
- BSY succeeds in salvaging a hopeless situation in nick of time
- Saffron party shows signs of inching towards victory
With three survey reports suggesting that the party’s downward slide had started from 146 seats in June 2016 to 105 seats in November 2016 and further down to 72 in April 2017, alarm bells started ringing in the BJP, both at the state and national levels in the month of March-April 2017. But, Karnataka’s strongman B.S. Yeddyurappa single-handedly turned the sinking fortunes of the BJP in the state at the nick of the time from a certain defeat (72 seats in March 2017 as per the third survey) to rickety victory (113 seats by the end of July 2017 as per the fourth survey)
conducted by Creative Centre for Social and Political Studies (COPS), a premier political and electoral research institute. However, the journey to reach the target of 150+ seats set by Modi and Shah is going to be long, hard and excruciating. A herculean task is, indeed, ahead for both Karnataka and central party units, if the saffron party wants to realise its dream of Congress-mukt Bharat. Election to Karnataka Assembly is due in March-April 2018.
In the summer of 2017, B.S. Yeddyurappa, the lonely sentinel of Karnataka BJP, realised that the party’s electoral fortunes was fast plummeting from 136 in June 2016 to 105 in November 2016 and further down to 72 in March 2017 according to a survey conducted by Creative Centre for Political and Social Studies (COPS), a premier institute of immense credibility and reputation for conducting election surveys, identifying faulty voters list etc, etc.
COPS, which conducted three surveys, first in June 2016, second in November 2016 and then in April 2017, also gave the reason for this downward fortune of the BJP–engineered-dissidence of a leader and indifference of his colleagues.
The party’s image, credibility and reputation had gone for a toss with one of its top leader K.S. Eshwarappa insisting that he be allowed to float his own so-called non-political outfit Sangolli Rayanna Brigade (SRB). The internal wranglings became public; people wondered if the party would be able to give a credible and stable government if it came to power. Party workers and admirers were not only sad and upset but angry as the fight was nauseating and abominable.
Without wasting a single minute, BSY realised that it was deep-rooted conspiracy of his opponents to defame him as well as sabotage party’s prospects. He gird up his loins to go on a 40-day whirl-wind tour of the state between May, June and first week of July to travel 9,887 kms covering 108 assembly segments spread across 21 of the 30 districts where he addressed five different types of meetings every day.
A professional, objective and dispassionate organisation that the COPS is, it quickly conducted a survey starting in the end of June and entire month of July to see the impact of Yeddyurappa’s tour that was undertaken to achieve multiple and multi-dimensional objectives. The result, which Uday India is the first journal to make it public, is going to be music to the ears of Yeddyurappa in particular and central leadership in general.
According to the fourth survey conducted by COPS in the last week of July 2017, the prospects of the saffron party had brightened from 72 in March 2017 to 113 in July 2017, enough to form the government but fraught with risks and uncertainty and definitely far away from the target of 150+ set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party’s national president Amit Shah.
“Congress govt is soft on jehadi forces”
“Siddaramaiah government is diabolical; it has adopted a, rather, devious method to divide the society; it has something to hide and somebody to shield in the controversial death of M.K.Ganapathy, Deputy Superintendent of Police. It has a soft-corner for jehadi forces inimical to the nation’s unity & integrity as could be made out in the cold-blooded murder of our RSS/BJP activists in Dakshina Kannada. This government has to go and people have decided to throw out Congress lock, stock and barrel,” B.S. Yeddyurappa, state BJP President, said in his exclusive chat with Deepak Kumar Rath. Excerpts:
What according to you are the three main lapses of the Congress government in Karnataka?
BJP in Karnataka has been highlighting the miserable failures of the Congress government led by Chief Minister Shri Siddaramaiah on all fronts – be it in tackling drought; be it in law and order; or be it in general administration. There is no semblance of governance.
Can you cite some specific instances about the collapse of law and order?
Fourteen RSS/BJP activists have been stabbed to death allegedly by the workers of Popular Front of India (PFI). Only after the BJP staged a massive protest demonstration the police swung into action and arrested four PFI workers in the murder of Sharath Madivala. What about others? According to government’s admission on the floor of the house, there have been 1,24,545 criminal incidents in the last three years.
You have been telling that the Congress government is soft on jehadi forces. Can you substantiate it?
My charge against this government is that the Congress is soft on jehadi forces which are inimical to the country’s unity and integrity. My statement is backed by the fact that the cabinet headed by Shri Siddaramaiah has withdrawn 42 cases filed by the BJP government against the activists of Karnataka Forum for Dignity, another dubious organisation which is hand-in-glove with the PFI. The involvement of PFI workers in all these cold-blooded murders is proved when the National Investigating Agency (NIA) arrested five PFI office-bearers in the murder of Rudresh, RSS/BJP worker in Bengaluru.
Why do you say that the Siddaramaiah government is diabolical?
The Karnataka Criminal Investigation Department of the state police had given clean chit to Shri K.J.George, presently the Minister for Bangalore Development and two other IPS officers in the controversial death of M.K. Ganapathy, KSPS officer of the rank of Dy SP. However, a startling exposure brought out by a national channel recently that Ganapathy did not commit suicide but it could be a murder. When the State-CID gave clean chit, the FSL report had not yet come. Clean chit was obtained in undue haste to re-induct Shri George into cabinet.
Can you explain how the Congress is backing on emotional issues in its attempt to win the elections and not on its performance?
This Congress government has no achievements or performance to boast of. That is why Shri Siddaramaiah has raked non-issues as regional Kannada flag, imposition of Hindi, driving a wedge between Veerashaiva-Lingayat etc. He wants to stoke regional passions and sentiments in order to garner votes. It only means that all his talk of performance is just a sham.
What is the plank of the BJP in this elections?
BJP is going to be the beneficiary of the strong and intense anti-Congress mood prevailing in the state. But at the same time, our victory will largely be on positive vote as the voters are being convinced and persuaded to make a positive choice of the BJP based on our performance as a vigilant Opposition inside and outside the state legislature; the need to further strengthen and consolidate the position of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.
This dramatic turnover of the party’s prospects, albeit, to a rickety number of 113, was possible solely due to Yeddyurappa’s single-handed effort. A mass leader with a keen political acumen, he chalked out his task meticulously; endearing himself as well as the party to dalits by par-taking breakfast in their residence; meeting the drought-hit farmers; visiting the dried fields on account of scanty rainfall; meeting the leaders of the OBC; addressing the district unit party workers and finally speaking at modestly-attended public meeting. This 40-day campaign was rightly called “Jan Sampark Abhiyan”.
At the end of the forty-day tour, addressing 41 big meetings of about 8,000 people and 97 workers meeting; having breakfast in 61 houses of dalits and having tea in the residences of OBC, and travelling a distance of an average 200-kms a day, this stormy petral of Karnataka politics had lost 12-kgs but the party had gained in strength in terms of image, credibility and stature. The situation had been salvaged. The disaster had been averted not only by putting a halt to the downward slide but lifting the party from a morass.
The journey from the present possibility of winning 113 seats to cross 150+ mark set by Modi and Shah is going to be long, hard and excruciating one given the fact that as of now it was only the 75-year old Yeddyurappa who was pulling the electoral yoke ploughing the lonely furrow.
There were perceptional differences between me and Yeddyurappa. It was bound to happen if one doesn’t get an insight into each other’s thinking. Now it is settled. We will work like Ram and Lakshman to see that BJP comes to power with Yeddyurappa as chief minister. Not only we have to see that the people of Karnataka are spared of this corrupt and inefficient Congress government but we need to strengthen Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s position in all respects in order to win a massive majority in the 2019 parliamentary elections.”
K.S. Eshwarappa, Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council
About Creative Centre for Political and Social Studies (COPS)
- Based in Basavanagudi, in South Bangalore, COPS is involved in multi-faceted activities pertaining to research on contemporary political issues in general and elections in particular.
- Its strength is a team of academicians from the field of sociology, political science, administration enlisted from different universities; foot Soldiers (field workers) are PG students from the field of Political Science, Economics and Sociology.
- Since the COPS team meet largest number of voters in both urban and rural areas of all age group, sex and profession to elicit information, its report will be logical, professional and convincing. Personal interaction with a wide section of society makes the report representative in tone, content and character.
- The accuracy rate of predicting the outcome of polls has been to the tune of 96 per cent to 98 per cent because of adopting a scientific mode of assessing the situation on the basis of Probability Proportional to Size (PPS) methodology.
- COPS team believe that IT means India Tomorrow. The professionals of COPS team are tech-savvy and hence professionalism is at its best. But at the same time, the field workers have an aptitude for being earthy in order to get a raw feed-back from different strata and section of society. It is an innocuous and perfect blend of technology and human effort.
In all the four surveys, COPS team has contacted a minimum of 5,000 voters in each of the 224 Assembly constituencies. Thus about 11.20 lakh voters have been contacted for each of the four surveys which effectively means COPS team have spoken to 44.80 lakh voters comprising of all the four surveys.
- In Seismological parlance, it is said that a vibrant activity at the bottom of the sea bed causes buoyancy on the surface. In political parlance, a vibrant political activity conducted by a robust organisation consisting of ideologically-committed cadre at the booth-level leads to electoral buoyancy that lifts every boat (candidate) in the elections.
- Against this the backdrop of this analogy and logic, it is possible that the prospects of the BJP, which had shown a down-ward trend from August 2016 till March-April 2017, could have brightened mainly due to the successful galvanisation of the party cadre by Yeddyurappa in the form of his relentless tour. I have been a witness to his travelling during this Jan Sampark Abhiyan.
- The entire programme was meticulously planned. First he met Dalits, then OBCs, then farmers, workers and also addressed small public meetings. It looked like almost an election campaign.
- BJP must sustain, consolidate and increase its prospects by relentlessly undertaking two programmes simultaneously; “Sangharsh and Sanghatan” –sangharsh against the mal-administration of the Congress government and sanghatan of the organisation at the booth-level.
- The hard and task-master both Amit Shah and Yeddyurappa are, the BJP would gain immensely if the party scrupulously adheres to the instructions and guidance given by these two leaders.
- What is of paramount importance is that the BJP must ensure that its image, credibility and reputation remains exemplary for which the conduct and behaviour needs to be dignified & performance remarkable.
The BJP had almost lost a golden opportunity of achieving the 150+ target with minimum efforts solely due to the dissident activity.
The report of the third survey conducted by COPS in March 2017 at the heat of dissidence movement that gave the party 72 seats reached the Central Leadership of the BJP. Both Modi and Shah were naturally upset and worried over the happenings.
Then came the news that Yeddyurappa was already on the job to galvanise the cadre; salvage the situation; mobilise public opinion and resurrect the image. It was almost pulling the party back from an abyss at the nick of the time. A hard task-master BSY is, this champion of kisans and down-trodden succeeded to pull the organisation from a moribund situation to make it pro-active and dynamic to a great extent.
It was at this time between end of June and the entire month of July COPS conducted the fourth survey that gave BJP 113 seats, one more than the half of the 224-member assembly. Jan Sampark Abhiyan was a successful exercise to a great extent.
Apart from the 40-day Jan Sampark Abhiyan, what else contributed for the total turn-around is also the 21-day Vistarak programme (Out-Reach) undertaken by the BJP to commemorate the birth centenary of Pandit Deenadayal Upadhyaya, an outstanding RSS pracharak and economic ideologue of the erstwhile Bharatiya Jana Sangh.
Over 36,000 foot-soldiers of the party as well as the leaders, office bearers, legislators and MPs conducted door-to-door campaign and distributed four different pamphlets – the first; to highlight the achievements of Modi government, the second; life and contribution of Pandit Deenadayal Upadhyaya, third; failures of the Congress government headed by chief minister Siddaramaiah and fourth; pro-people programmes undertaken by the BJP government between 2008 and 2013.
This resulted in galvanising the party cadre at the booth level; energised the taluk committees; made the district committee pro-active & dynamic; and lastly ensured that the office bearers be constantly on the move to enable the organisation to remain robust.
Yeddyurappa has succeeded in making the party cadre at the booth level pro-active and dynamic. He exhudes confidence that the there would be no looking back for the BJP and the saffron party would form the government on its own with a comfortable majority.
It remains to be seen if Yeddyurappa and his team would lift the party collectively and ensure its journey to the third floor of Vidhana Soudha.
By Deepak kumar Rath