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The Modi-Gowda bromance is thus hinging on electoral calculations. Modi previously
heaped praise on the JD(S) chief
+ and noted how he held him in high regard. Gowda, in turn, praised Modi’s oratorical skills, also recalling how the PM stopped him from quitting Parliament. And although in recent rallies, Modi has ramped up his criticism of the JD(S) and claimed that it had a ‘secret alliance’ with the Congress, even as Gowda has emphasised that personal regard did not mitigate his political differences with the Prime Minister, both parties are all acutely aware they cannot totally alienate each other.
Explore how Karnataka voted in every election from 1978-2013
In this context, south Karnataka is especially crucial. A glimpse of the state’s electoral map from 2013 reveals that the influence of the JD(S) is mostly limited to this region, where the BJP is not a strong political player. JD(S) is the dominant force here, with saffron pockets few and far between.
In fact, the BJP got less than 20% of the vote share in most constituencies in south Karnataka during the assembly polls five years ago. The JD(S), in turn, saw a healthy vote share that was mostly above 40%.
Edit: Modi and Gowda take aim at a common foe
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As a result, with the two parties not in direct competition in this region, in the current scenario, a higher vote share for Deve Gowda’s party will eat into the share of the Congress, which is in the interests of the BJP.
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The Old Mysore region, in particular, is mostly going to be a two-horse race between the Congress and the JD(S). In 2013, the Congress bagged 45.8% of the seat share, with the JD(S) closely following at 42.4%. The BJP, on the other hand, barely registered a presence at 3.39%. The saffron party’s wins here were restricted to Tumkur Rural in Tumkur and Kolar Gold Field in Kolar.
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If Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and B S Yeddyurappa can drum up enough tacit support for the JD(S), they may be able to oust the ruling Congress party. And while the likelihood of the JD(S) being king is unlikely, it may be well be kingmaker in case of a hung assembly. In this regard, Modi is acting shrewdly given that HD Kumaraswamy’s past dalliance with BJP was a disaster. On the other hand, although a Congress-JD(S) alliance cannot be ruled out either, Siddaramaiah could still become the fall guy as Gowda has reserved his harshest words for the current chief minister, who was earlier part of the JD(S).
Data courtesy Rishabh Srivastava — founder of data research firm, Loki Technologies