‘A vote against the BJP’

Print edition : May 31, 2013

Narendra Modi at an election rally in Mangalore on May 5. Photo: R. Eswarraj

Pitch-forked by the Bharatiya Janata Party into heading its government in the last few months of its five-year term, 57-year-old Jagadish Shettar was able to provide a non-controversial administration. But with everything to lose and nothing to gain, the task set for him before the Assembly elections was an unenviable one. The national party won 40 seats, the same number of seats as the regional Janata Dal (Secular) party. Excerpts from an interview with Jagadish Shettar after the election results came out:

Are you disappointed with the party’s performance?


But did you not expect to win the elections?

No. But we expected to do much better. We could have won another 10 to 15 seats.

What are the main reasons for the BJP’s debacle?

Infighting in the party, change of Chief Ministers, and the two splits—first the Reddy brothers [the Bellary brothers, G. Janardhana Reddy, G. Somashekara Reddy and G. Karunakara Reddy] left the party and then B.S. Yeddyurappa.

Was it that simple? Or was it corruption, lack of good governance…?

What happened in the party during the first two or three years caused us problems. The Lok Ayukta’s indictment [of Yeddyurappa] in the illegal mining scam and other charges of corruption [against some Ministers] got stuck in the minds of the voters, although many of these people left the party. Our image got sullied and we could not come out of that image of corruption. This created a setback for us.

Neither the BJP nor the Congress made corruption a major election plank.

Thanks to the numerous scams in the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre, the Congress’ image is also not good. The party could not afford to make corruption an issue. Given the BJP’s poor showing, the Congress should have won more seats. But it did not. This is because this verdict is not a positive one for any party. It is a vote against the BJP.

Will this result of the Assembly elections have a bearing on the 2014 Lok Sabha elections?

Not at all. The issues are different in a national election.

Ravi Sharma

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor