According to various reports that have emerged about the “Vijaya Sankalpa” meet organized by Karnataka BJP on 8th April 2013, it appears that the party has shown no commitment for any change in its approach to Governance.

On the one hand the leaders are still reluctant to criticize Mr Yeddyurappa and there is every indication that in future if Mr Yeddyurappa gains acceptance of voters, another big chunk of even elected MLAs will shift to KJP. In the event KJP gets about 40-50 seats and BJP also gets around 50-60 seats, it is more likely for BJP members to go to KJP rather than KJP members coming back to BJP. In such a situation BJP-Karnataka will continue to be a non functional party.

Secondly it has been clarified that the leadership of the party still lies with Mr Jagadish Shettar. This means that the party is yet to come out of its concept of relying on “Lingayat Vote Bank”.

Thus there will be no change in the approach of the party from its Pre-Election status.

Though Mr Narendra Modi has been making waves in the National Capital with his innovative Governance thoughts, none of this seem to have rubbed onto the leaders in Karnataka.

It appears therefore that erstwhile BJP voters have no choice but to look for alternatives. Unfortunately there is no statewide party which presents a credible alternative. JD(S) is strong in pockets. Congress remains strong as a default alternative to many. But it would be only a return to the past.

At least for the Bangaloreans, the Loksatta Party appears to present a credible alternative at least as a show of protest against the unethical and corrupt political system which otherwise dominates the  political scene. Though the party does not seem to have the power to gain a significant number of seats since it may contest only around 30 seats, if it is able to focus on getting at least 5 seats, it could be considered as a success.

However for making a perceptible difference to governance, Loksatta should focus on the Bangalore Urban constituencies where it has the best chance of success. Bangalore city has 28 seats and all the parties will fight a bitter war here. But most contests may turn out to be a five corner contest with the possibility of even the sixth serious candidate in the form of an independent. If the vote percentage is around 60% we are likely to see a scenario where 15% vote share could be close to a win. Loksatta will be strong amongst the new voters who have joined the fray this year and also some of the traditional BJP supporters. There is a potential for its candidates to reach the magic 15% vote share at least in a few of the constituencies.

However at present the Loksatta is pursuing a dream of ruling Karnataka and its manifesto unreaslistically projects policies which are for consideration by a ruling party. It is necessary for the party to show a greater humbleness and admit that it cannot pursue statewide ambitions and hence has to tailor its manifesto to meet the requirements of the sub regional nature of the party.

It would be better for the party to even now consider a new manifesto particularly for the Bangalore audience and vow to fight for the same. The current manifesto is not appealing to the Bangalore audience and could fail to enthuse them beyond the claim for freedom from corruption. The party could have considered other civic issues though they might have felt that the pitch would appear to be more like a pitch for Corporation election rather than an assembly election. However this as a strategy would have been more credible and more effective.

With such a micro approach Loksatta should bid for all the 28 Bangalore seats and hope to gain a voice in the assembly.

Vijayashankar

As a voter of Karnataka

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