How CBI Raid Against DK Shivakumar Could Help Congress in Bypolls
The raid may lead to the consolidation of the Vokkaliga vote bank.
The political motives behind the raid by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar continue to be a topic of discussion in the state’s political circles. Some Congress leaders say the raid is an attempt to cut the party’s funding ahead of the crucial bypoll, while others claim this is an attempt to divert attention away from recent allegations of corruption against CM Yediyurappa’s family.
While these speculations haven’t found any definite answer, there is one aspect many agree on – the CBI raid would have an impact on the results of the upcoming bypolls in Karnataka.
Why This Raid Would Help DK Shivakumar?
A one-word answer to this question is – caste. Aware of the importance of caste in Karnataka politics, DK Shivakumar has been projecting himself as the face of the Vokkaliga community. There are three aspects to how this is consolidating the community’s votes spread across three parties.
First, during the political crisis, he had projected himself as the only man who wanted to save a Vokkaliga chief minister’s chair – making him the face of Vokkaliga representation in Congress. He even went to jail as a result of this, a point he has been bringing up often in his speeches.
Second, after taking over as KPCC president, he offered the Congress quota to elect HD Deve Gowda to Rajya Sabha, since he had lost the general election. He has projected himself to the JD(S) vote bank as a man who takes care of the community.
Third, recently DK’s daughter married SM Krishna’s grandson. SM Krishna is the most senior Vokkaliga leader in the BJP.
An example of how his popularity as a Vokkaliga leader is increasing was the massive rally in September 2019, when DK Shivakumar was released from jail after he was arrested in a case registered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). More than 30,000 Vokkaligas had gathered in the rally.
How Will This Likely Affect the Bypolls?
On 3 November, Sira and Rajarajeshwari Nagar constituencies will go to polls. These two seats have a large Vokkaliga population. Vokkaligas are a prominent vote bank in the state, to which DK Shivakumar belongs.
According to sources in the Congress, Sira has around 60,000 Vokkaliga votes, with Rajarajeshwari Nagar alone having nearly 72,000 Vokkaligas.
“The Vokkaliga votes in Sira are consolidated with JD(S), but after their MLA passed away, they are still struggling to find a good candidate. With DK Shivakumar’s popularity increasing, we believe that we will get bulk of the Vokkaliga votes in this constituency,” said a senior Congress leader.
According to a Congress leader, Vokkaliga leaders in the BJP distancing themselves from commenting on the raid against DK Shivakumar is a clear sign of their concerns over the raid blowing up into a caste issue in the state.
However, BJP leaders don’t agree. “DK Shivakumar believes in theatrics. Theatrics doesn’t mean people won’t see through the fact that he is a corrupt politician. There will not be any consolidation of the votes and a look at the results of the last bypolls show that the BJP has people’s support,” a BJP leader said.
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