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Mar 25, 2013 at 11:07am IST

I doubt Yeddyurappa will return to BJP before the polls: Saritha Rai

Saritha Rai, contributing editor and columnist, Indian Express joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the Karnataka Assembly polls 2013.

Q. Will the Assembly elections vary with the Lok Sabha elections (LS whenever it happens)? Cong is in a very strong position to wrest Karnataka from BJP. Asked by: Emathew

I doubt Yeddyurappa will return to BJP before the polls: Saritha Rai

Columnist Saritha Rai joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the Karnataka Assembly polls 2013.

A. For decades, Karnataka has bucked the national trend in sending one party to Delhi and another to Bangalore. When Delhi had a BJP prime minister, Karnataka had a Congress chief minister. When Congress ruled Delhi, Karnataka had South India's first ever BJP government. If that trend continues, then the results of 2013 Assembly and 2014 Lok Sahba elections should be quite different.

Q. How do you rate Jagadish Shettar's performance as a Chief Minister? How is he perceived in urban Karnataka? Asked by: Oliver

A. Karnataka has had a chief ministerial musical chairs in the past years. Three chief ministers have come and gone, with both Sadananda Gowda and Jagadish Shettar barely lasting long enough time to make any kind of an impression. Shettar has had no time to govern, he has been busy fighting internal fires in the party ever since he became chief minister. People would find it hard to rate his performance because he has done nothing of consequence to be rated upon.

Q. Will Modi's campaign in Karnataka help BJP in anyway? or is it going to be Congress show this time? Asked by: Justin

A. Some people would love to see Karnataka as a Modi versus Rahul battle. But it can't be. Smart voters are discerning of constituency-level issues, state-level challenges and national-level issues. If Modi or Rahul Gandhi arrive in Karnataka to hit the campaign trail, they will definitely draw big crowds. Their mere presence is enough to win assembly seats - now that is another matter.

Q. Saritha, according to you, what impact the Yedi factor have on the Assembly polls in Karnataka? Does the BJP still have any chance to retain the power? Asked by: Shyam Vadalker

A. BY Yeddyurappa is a factor, especially in the Lingayat community dominated belt. The Lingayats have been staunch supporters of the BJP in the last election. The internal BJP squabbles which resulted in Yeddyurappa walking out of the BJP will definitely hurt the party's election prospects. Whether Yeddyurappa can win many assembly seats or not, candidates of his party (KJP) will split the vote and ensure that the BJP loses quite a few seats because of the Yeddyurappa Factor.

Q. Hello Mam, Is the Congress headed for a win in Karnataka? Will projecting SM Krishna as CM canidate help Congress? Asked by: Joshua James R

A. SM Krisha is 80 years old, he will turn 81 in a few months. His supporters are readying to mark his 50 years in politics. There is no doubt that Krishna has good will amongst urban voters, especially those in Bangalore. But I doubt there will be many takers today for a politician who is well past his prime, however well-regarded he is.

Q. Any possibility of yeedyurappa going back to BJP before or after election. Will he support Modi for PM if need arises? Asked by: Sandeep

A. I doubt Yeddyurappa will return to the BJP before the election. But politics is all about the possible, as the old cliche goes. There is no saying how the math will add up after the elections. As for Yeddyurappa's suppport for Modi, he is a Modi admirer and has openly said the recent Gujarat victory is not BJP's but Modi's alone.

Q. What will be the impact of two new regional parties on the result? Asked by: Kiran

A. The two new regional parties, Yeddurappa's KJP and Sriramulu's BSR Congress, may not win large numbers of seats. But what they will do is upset the BJP's and Congress's math in those constitutencies where they field candidates. I don't see any big wins for the BSR Congress.

Q. Will it make a difference in campaigning as its a one day poll instead of a multi day. Asked by: Ganesh

A. Definitely, political parties will have to be more efficient with their campaigns, managers and resources because the polling is on a single day across the state.

Q. Will Congress announce a CM candidate ahead of the elections? In that case, who will it be? Asked by: Vijay

A. The Congress is unlikely to announce a 'chief minister' before the results are out. What the party has said so far is that elections will be contested under a 'collective leadership'. But there are many aspirants, including G Parameshwara, Siddaramaiah, a former chief minister or two, a couple of union ministers, and so on.

Q. The Congress is expected to do well. Do you think this is because of any agenda or only because of misgovernance of the BJP? Asked by: Sidhartha M

A. The Congress party is openly saying its campaign mantra is BJP misrule. They have made no 'agenda' public so far, other than that they want to rule from the Vidhana Soudha in Bangalore. Voters are saying that the Congress will not have to do much, the BJP has done enough on their behalf.

Q. Don't you think that it is unfair that Congress gets an "Automatic Advantage" due to anti - incumbency? Asked by: Sidhartha M

A. Anti-incumbency by itself is fair. It gives people a chance to vote out any political party that has not performed. Anti-incumbency also keeps elected representatives on their toes. They know that they have to deliver, with the sword hanging right over their heads, so to speak

Q. Local Satraps like yediyurappa thinks they are more than the party? The same is the case Modi. At least congress is lucky at present they do not have local satraps? Asked by: Prathap

A. I am a believer in good leadership, and the state governments that have delivered have been those headed by strong, level-headed politicians. In that sense a 'local satrap', a solid leader who has the state's interests in focus, is good for every state.

Q. Saritha, more and more small parties creeping up in Karnataka, will that affect to get one party total majority? Asked by: Sandeep

A. The trend is Indian politics is that there are more regional parties having a say in who forms the government in Delhi. Likewise, in Karnataka smaller state-level parties could well tilt the scale towards one side or the other without actually winning too many seats.

Q. I feel a national party must come to power with reasonable majority otherwise there would not be any stabilty for th government? Asked by: Prathap

A. The way things look right now, the national parties (Congress and BJP) are still the front runners in the Karnataka elections. Going past the triple digit number (100) and closer to the half way mark, could offer (but not guarantee) political stability. Smaller parties like HD Kumaraswamy's Janata Dal (S) or BS Yeddyurappa's KJP do not have the mass base. But yes, while these parties' leaders may not be kings, they could turn out kingmakers.

Q. There is a rumor that D K Shivakumar will be CM Asked by: Kiran

A. A dozen rumors follow every leader-politician! DK Shivakumar has been mentored by SM Krishna. Krishna is said to have reasonable influence with the Gandhi family. He also has his supporter base in Karnataka. So, who knows what could happen if Krishna is in a position to dictate terms post the elections.

Q. Do you feel Because of clean image of Shettar and Pralhad Joshi can BJP come to power again? Asked by: raj

A. Is a clean image enough to win an election today? Shettar has had a short reign. But his role has hardly been performance packed.

Q. Is the Karnataka Congress united? Would the real chance of winning,as indicated by the recent civic polls trigger in fighting inside Congress,marring their chances. Asked by: Santhosh Chandrasekharan

A. Karnataka's Congress is not united. There are many factions and many leaders. For every assembly seat, there are multiple Congress aspirants. Some Congress leaders fear that those who are denied the party tickets might end up ruining the chances of the Congress.

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