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Analysis: How Dalit, Lingayat cards didn't work for Congress in Karnataka

By Sarwar Kashani

New Delhi, May 15 (IANS): Two of the major chunks of voters that the Congress was banking on in Karnataka were Dalits and Lingayats and on Tuesday as election results were declared both appeared to have voted in large numbers for the BJP.

In fact, the Congress in 2013 rose to power in the southern state with a strong backing of minorities, backward classes and Dalits and the same coalition led to its ouster in 2018.

The Congress desperately tried to add to the coalition the Lingayat factor by granting religious minority status to the community - a move that didn't work to its advantage.

Dalits and Scheduled Tribes in Karnataka are huge in numbers anywhere between 20 to 23 per cent, enough to make or break prospects for any political party to come to power.

Take a look at the past elections of Karnataka.

In the 51 constituencies reserved for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, the BJP got just seven in 2013 while the Congress got 26 and JD-S 11. The BSR Congress bagged four seats while two went to independents. The Congress scored an easy majority.

In 2008, when the BJP won the mandate as the single largest party, it bagged 27 and the Congress 17. The JD-S won nine.

And cut to 2018 that threw up a hung verdict. The BJP and the Congress appeared neck and neck winning 23 and 19 seats respectively. The JD-S grabbed eight. The end result is a hung assembly which was a similar case in 2004.

Dalits have traditionally been supporters of the Congress but the BJP has successfully managed to break into the support bases, particularly since the 2004 polls when it managed a social engineering exercise to attract a section of Dalit voters - called the Left Dalits.

The Left Dalits are considered the most marginalised among such communities.

The Congress also tried to woo BJP Chief Ministerial face B.S. Yeddyurappa's own caste - the Lingayats - a traditional BJP support base. They have influence on nearly 100 seats in the 224-member assembly and make up 17 per cent of the state's population.

The Congress hoped that that by playing the religious minority card, it would split the BJP's vote base as Lingayats appeared going back to Yeddyurappa after voting against him in 2013. But the experiment seemed to have failed.

The BJP won from the majority of Lingayat dominated seats - mainly in north Karnataka (Hyderabad Karnataka) and parts of the central region.

In 2013, when the Congress emerged a clear winner, it won 47 seats in Lingayata heartlands, against just five for the BJP.

(Sarwar Kashani can be contatced at

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Comment on this article

  • Myna, Mysuru

    Wed, May 16 2018

    The reason why the Congress lost is
    1. Money power. Even to this day the poorer sections swing their votes to the highest bidder. They calculate how many days they can sit at home and enjoy life without working. In any case the VOTERS know that successive governments will not withdraw the Anna Bagya or other Bagyas given to them. Strong example is MNREGA started by the Congress which was criticised by Modi during elections and as CM of Gujarat is now continued vigourously by them with an enhanced budget
    2. A monumental blunder of the Congress government to have implemented the Minority status JUST ONE MONTH before the ASSEMBLY elections for the Lingayat community which was welcomed by the Lingayat Swamijis but was cleverly misinterpreted by the BJP as splitting the lingayat community which was believed by the masses. Failure of Mr Siddaramaiah and his friends among lingayats to directly talk to the people and address the Swamijis of the community was a mistake
    3. Congressmen who had a grouse towards Mr Siddaramaiah were not fully supporting the party fearing Siddaramaiah becoming the CM again. Strong Dalit and Vokkaliga leaders could have canvassed for CM in Chamundeshwari constituency. Betrayal by Party leaders
    4. Strong polarisation on caste basis in certain constituencies which has resulted in surprise verdicts
    1. Go on padayatra to the Northern Karnataka alongwith like minded friends and set right the misunderstanding created on Minority Status to lingayats
    2. Based on vote share and constituencywise strength work out the Lok Sabha seat sharing with the JD(S) now
    3. Ensure that all the MP seats due for election since they are elected to the Assembly be captured by the Congress. The JD(S) should concede the three Lok Sabha seats to the Congress
    4. All MLCs seats to be shared on the basis of their MLAs voting share
    5. Work for a stronger and consolidated AHINDA which he neglected during his tenure due to paucity of time and governance

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Vincent Rodrigues, Bengaluru/Katapadi

    Wed, May 16 2018

    Analysis is required why the Dalit Lingayat cards didn't work for Congress favour.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Amith, USA

    Wed, May 16 2018

    Siddujii don't make too much " ಮಂಡೆ ಬೆಚ್ಚ " now !!!! Just assume that you had fed the milk to poisonous snakes. When the stomach is full what the snake do? Exactly the same thing these people did to you!!!! In future correct yourself and adopt some lessons of Feku & Daku combine!!!! " Promise everything , Give nothing" . By your different Baghyas to the BPL, lot of people prospered abundantly by selling Kerosine, rice ....etc. Next 5 years let them use that savings !!!!!! When their wallet gone empty, again they will remember you!!! Kannadigas proved that they are not far behind to UP bhaiyas!!!!!

    DisAgree [8] Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sharat, Mangalore

    Wed, May 16 2018

    Amith, USA

    Sitting in USA and dont write nonsense...
    Accept the mandate.
    What are you talking voters are stupid??

    DisAgree [7] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • David Pais, Mangalore

    Wed, May 16 2018

    what mandate 100 crore 2 procure 1 m.l.a?????????

    DisAgree [3] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Vaishak, Mangalore

    Wed, May 16 2018

    Siddhu Sir, we still like you and proud of you. You lifted the Karnataka state from worst situation and turned into number one state of India. Thanks for all your service, people will never forget your love for the poor and farmers.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • Moshu, Mangaluru

    Wed, May 16 2018

    It is proved that section of people here opted themselves to get rot and drag others too get into it. Blind bhakhts will never learn the lessons. For them development wont bother them when communal govt offer them the job of violence.

    DisAgree [7] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Peter Saldanha, Udupi

    Wed, May 16 2018

    Nidderamiah can sleep now...and can gaze cows.

    DisAgree [12] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mohit, Mangalore

    Wed, May 16 2018

    Now Indira Canteen Bagya for the Nidde. Good Luck. Take some rest. Did you see the result of playing with the sentiments of Kannadiga's. Learn some lesson Nidde.

    DisAgree [16] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • SB, Mlore

    Wed, May 16 2018

    Abdul Rafiq
    We do not vote based on caste card. That a only you people do. That's why Congress is taking you guys for granted as their vote bank.

    We are the same people who voted BJP o it of power when the state leaders created mess in the state 5 years back, and we are the same people who voted out congress this time because if they threat it posed to us of splitting our people by giving Benne to one hand and Sunna to another. ARROGANCE had reached.over the head on many Dongis Especially Siddu. He had to be shown his place and we Did it.a sitting popular CM lost in his home in a big margin and won in a slender 1600 margin in another. That's the power of democracy. Even in DK they tried to split Billawas and Bunts but we stood united and sent them whom . We are the same people who elected Khader, Lobo and Bava and We are the same people who sent them home. We vote based on issues and development. Not caste. Freebies based on caste are the tools of Congress to split people.

    DisAgree [21] Agree [60] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rahul, Mangalore

    Wed, May 16 2018

    Comment of the day.
    Secular comment.
    Hats up to you dear.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Marle, Kudla

    Wed, May 16 2018

    Great thoughts SB!

    The Power of "We" who have been painted as saffron terrorist/ Bhakths/ Chaddi's.

    Happy that "We" were able to Show what "WE" can do if we wish to.
    "We" are peaceful too
    "We" are not hate mongers
    "We" need equal respect
    "We" don't need reservations/ Minority status
    "We"want politicians to equally respect our gods
    "We"Are Like You too

    DisAgree [7] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Amith, USA

    Wed, May 16 2018

    In that your "WE" don't include all Hindus please!!!! Still there are in Majority "HINDUISM " Hindus and in Minority "HINDUTVA " Hindus!!!!!!. Minority Hindus are Dangerous to the Society and Majority Hindus are Pride of the Society!!!! That is the difference between you and Me!!!!!

    DisAgree [6] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • Indian Kannadiga, Coastal Karnataka

    Wed, May 16 2018

    Well said. This is the reason for Congress to lose state after state rapidly. They must now open the way for non parivarik leaders also to lead and pave the way for young Indians, who have aspirations. Its high time that our generation of Freedom Fighters must now sacrifice their position to others in a democratic way and support them to achieve. No doubt for Congress to bounce back, because in Democracy, people are the choosers.

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • HASHIM, Kundapura

    Wed, May 16 2018

    Time will speak..

    DisAgree [2] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sachidanand Shetty, Mundkur/Dubai

    Wed, May 16 2018

    Wah…. what a thoughtful comments SB…. I salute for your bold reply to one such person who always presume them as “WE” and pronounce others as “You….You…You” …without realizing that they are ‘No One” unless “We” too join in the main stream. Person like me always believe that….if we keep our religion and God at our home….India will never have any problem for any reason for that matter

    DisAgree Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Valerian D'Souza, Udupi / Mumbai

    Wed, May 16 2018

    Congress polled higher vote share of 38% as against 36.6% of 2013, surprisingly it fell short of seats!
    If we compare the history, power with evil ones or ill gotten, will destroy the power hungry themselves!
    Viz. King Pharaoh, Ravan in Ramayana, Hitler etc. Natures ways are so different!

    DisAgree [7] Agree [21] Reply Report Abuse

  • Nein, Mlore/US

    Wed, May 16 2018

    The day Siddu announced separate religion status for Lingayats, I realized only Ullal for congress in Udupi & DK. Many of my friends who would have voted for congress where angry saying Siddu breaking religion. Other big blunder during election time by Siddu was to drop **minor** charges filed just against **minorities**, this was very controversial and ordinance was amended later to include everyone. Given Lingayats did not back INC, they lost way more seats. Sadly Madhwaraj, Lobo mam lost because of this!

    DisAgree [3] Agree [22] Reply Report Abuse

  • Anand, Mangalore

    Wed, May 16 2018

    Unless hindutva card is used, Congress will not be successful. Nobody wants development!

    DisAgree [15] Agree [35] Reply Report Abuse

  • Tilak, Blore

    Wed, May 16 2018

    Do you please shed some light on the minority card..

    DisAgree [5] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Anand, Mangalore

    Wed, May 16 2018

    Im telling the same thing. No point in minority card!

    DisAgree [4] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Aravind, Blr

    Wed, May 16 2018

    So minority card equals development and majority card doesn't? Precisely why congress lost.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [10] Report Abuse

  • sri_elder, Karkala

    Wed, May 16 2018

    Arrogant sidda lost power...
    Now only hopes to Karnataka is Yediyurappa...

    If not clamp president rule!

    DisAgree [41] Agree [21] Reply Report Abuse

  • DON, Udupi

    Wed, May 16 2018

    The fact is that majority of Indians including educated believe in rumors, lies and fake news and BJP plays them well. This will continue on Indian soil forever until 'bakras' follow them

    There is way no way on earth pronounced corrupt and criminals get elected, reflects the quality of electorate.

    DisAgree [14] Agree [27] Reply Report Abuse

  • El En Tea, Mumbai

    Wed, May 16 2018

    Just simple boss because of EVM

    DisAgree [19] Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

  • Nawaz, Udupi/ Kuwait

    Wed, May 16 2018

    39% of linguists have voted for Congress compared to 42% to BJp. No big difference.
    Congress even retained all seats in Hyderabad Karnataka.

    DisAgree [14] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • Abdul Rafiq, Uchila / Udupi

    Wed, May 16 2018

    Nothing but back stabbed. Lingayats demanded for the separate religion and Siddaramaiah has addressed and taken up their request to the Central govt. But Lingayats blamed Congress for dividing their religion and they have not voted for Congress. They have voted for BJP in large numbers.
    From Indira Gandhi to Dr. Manmohan Singh have worked hard for upliftment of the Dalit community. Congress govt has brought many laws to stop the atrocities on dalits. But BJP govt has cancelled Dalit act through the Supreme court. Attacks on dalits by the Sanghis happening on daily basis in BJP ruled state, But still large number of Dalits are Modi bhakths and voting for BJP.
    Why to make favor to the people who have no courtesy to say thanks and don't want to give their single vote???

    DisAgree [28] Agree [31] Reply Report Abuse

  • Shankar, LONDON

    Wed, May 16 2018

    Have u heard about recent Dalith-Muslim clash in Theni, Tamilnadu?

    BJP made dalith as president? what about Congress? Its the NDA govt which gave bharat rathna to Dr. Ambedkar, not congress. And what % of Lingayuths wanted it as seperate religion? Not even 10%....This is where Cong failed.

    DisAgree [11] Agree [26] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ediboy, mangalore

    Wed, May 16 2018

    Dalit from Rss is not a Dalit.. he is a puppet..

    DisAgree [9] Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

  • Don, Mangalore

    Wed, May 16 2018

    It is very sad, tragic and unfortunate that in this day and age when elections in the West and developed world are fought purely on issues i.e jobs, healthcare, education, retirement, national security, etc here in India elections are being fought based on ones caste and religion.

    To get the Muslim vote, the Congress declared Tipu's birthday as a holiday and celebrated the day using tax payers money. How insensitive they could be and what a slap in the face for the descendants of both Christians and Hindus to see this mass murderer, robber who should have gone down in the dustbins of history to see him celebrated in this manner. WHAT A SHAME ?????

    DisAgree [2] Agree [21] Reply Report Abuse

  • Anil, Brahmavar / Bangalore

    Wed, May 16 2018

    Tippu Jayanti curse & Christians anger didn't went well for Congress !!!

    DisAgree [3] Agree [16] Reply Report Abuse

  • R Mallar, Kasaragod/Dubai

    Wed, May 16 2018

    "Jayanti", "Bhagya" "Division of religion"
    Had Siddaramaiyah, refrained from these gimmicks, Congress would have won the elections.
    He tested the patience of otherwise neutral people from the majority community.

    Cambridge Analytica, probably did not tell the masters that people can easily see through the gimmicks.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [20] Reply Report Abuse

  • Indian Kannadiga, Coastal Karnataka

    Wed, May 16 2018

    Free Bhagyas and Free Jayanthis instead of giving jobs and salary, took away the job of the Job Giver. Democracy has the power. But at times it may be "Kolu kottu pettu thinnu". Look at the Centre, we gave absolute majority without opposition and we the people only suffer with rising costs. So 2019 make a wise choice.

    DisAgree [7] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

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Title : Analysis: How Dalit, Lingayat cards didn't work for Congress in Karnataka


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