BSY to return while Congress suffers setback in Andhra

While I knew all along that the Congress would lose all the seven assembly seats in the by-elections in Andhra Pradesh, what has come as a surprise in political circles is the defeat of the BJP in the Chikmaglur Lok Sabha seat, which was vacated by the Karanatka chief minister Sadanand Gowda. Incidentally, India’s greatest mass leader Indira Gandhi had won from Chikmaglur in the late seventies before the Janata Party dominated Lok Sabha had expelled her from the House. The seat has since been on the political map of the country and elections here are always watched with a lot of interest.

If sources in the BJP are to be believed, supporters of former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa were instrumental in getting the BJP defeated from this prestigious seat since they were sure that this would send a clear message to the present CM as well as the party’s central leadership that it was Yeddy who was the big boss in the state.

What is also most interesting is that all the eight MLAs in the Lok Sabha constituency dominated by the Vokkiliga community belong to the BJP. But it was pressure from the former CM’s supporters that led to the astonishing result, which the Congress nominee who won ultimately is still finding it hard to believe. The result has also sent shock waves in the Sangh Parivar where a section was plotting to expel Yeddyurappa, a Lingayat from the party. But the outcome has ensured that the former CM will most probably be reinstated in a few days time to prevent further damage. Expulsion at this stage would have alienated the entire Lingayat community, which dominates the state politics.

The Congress is of course the beneficiary of this tussle in the BJP but has to do a lot of introspection if it has to perform well all over the country. The party is also happy over its victory in Gujarat but it will be good if nothing much is read into it. The Gujarat assembly polls are due later this year and the Congress has to use all its resources if it has to pose any kind of challenge to Narendra Modi.

The Assembly results find Congress losing in all the seven seats in Andhra, a state that under YS Rajasekhar Reddy returned 33 MPs to the Lok Sabha last time. The party’s chances here are receding in the wake of its lack of clarity on the Telangana issue as also its attitude towards YSR’s son Jaganmohan Reddy. The bye-election results need to be looked into very objectively and corrective measures must be taken immediately. The Congress by and large needs a big shakeup if it has to resuscitate itself and be a major player even in many other states.

The BJP too is facing a lot of internal problems and has to resolve its leadership crisis. The time perhaps has come to say good-bye to the LK Advani coterie and look at new leadership, which is closer to the Sangh ideology and agenda. Let us see whether this happens.

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