Zee Media Bureau
Bangalore: Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) chief BS Yeddyurappa might have succeeded in ruining BJP’s chances of winning good number of seats in Karnataka, but he himself has no reason to cheer for his own party, which has fared poorly as the counting of votes began on Wednesday.
The Lingayat leader has clearly failed to convert the BJP's losses into gains for his newly formed KJP, which was leading in just 15 seats till the trends last came 10.40 am.
KJP was not expected to throw a surprise in the single-phased May assembly elections in Karnataka, but no one hoped that BSY’s party will finish fourth in the final tally, as the current trends suggest.
For Yeddyurappa, today’s verdict is career-defining. The number of seats his KJP bags will determine his political clout and future in the state's politics.
Though the final results are yet to come, the trends so far have suggested that the Lingayat leader’s hope to be the kingmaker in the formation of new government in Karnataka is fast fading.
BS Yeddyurappa had big hopes of winning at least 42 seats to be able to bargain power with Congress if the latter fails to win 100-seats.
Ahead of the counting, some leaders of KJP have said in private that the party is ready to support a Congress government, if it comes to that.
But it's still not clear if the Congress would accept KJP support, particularly as it had gone hammer and tongs against Yeddyurappa when he was the Chief Minister and faced corruption charges.
The Congress is hoping that it would not have to depend on others to form government.
Prima facie, it appears that Yeddyurappa may have accomplished his task to decimate the BJP, by chipping away a few percent of votes. In the last elections, the BJP had secured nearly one per cent votes less than Congress but still managed to bag 30 seats more than it.
KJP's stance post the election-results will be keenly watched as it's predicted to win about only two dozen seats, at the most.
In Karnataka, the BJP was for years associated with Yeddyuruappa, the man who led it to form its first ever government in south India. He dominated the scene and defied his party leadership with impunity when he was asked to step down on corruption charges after the state Lokayukta charged him with profiteering from illegal mining in the state. Yeddyurappa eventually quit as Chief Minister in July 2011.
He was arrested later that year and spent close to three weeks in jail. Upon his release, he sought to be re-instated as Chief Minister, but the BJP leadership did not oblige. Nor did it give him a prominent post in the party's state outfit. Yeddyurappa finally quit his party of 40 years in November 2012 and took along with him his staunchest supporters and formed the KJP in December.
He had then claimed that his party would win the Assembly elections but his bravado was perhaps premature. In the urban local body elections held in March, the KJP flopped. Yeddyurappa failed to demonstrate influence anywhere save in Gulbarga, where his party won seven wards. The Congress was the big winner then, winning the majority of seats.
Ever the political pragmatist, Yeddyurappa had started reaching out to other players in Karnataka even as he was exiting the BJP. He paid the Congress several compliments, perhaps seeking to open new doors as one closed behind him.
In the 2008 elections, BJP secured 110 seats, three short of majority and formed the government with the help of five independents who were made ministers. Congress bagged 80 seats and JD-S 28. The overall voter turnout then was 64.91 per cent.
With Agency inputs