Father-in-law vs son-in-law for Congress ticket


By T S Sudhir

 
Politicians lobbying for tickets for their kith and kin is nothing new in Indian politics. One has seen it in several elections, including the latest round of state elections in five states. But what is happening within the Congress for the party ticket to the Secunderabad Cantonment constituency is something rather new. A father-in-law is lobbying for a ticket, asking the party to deny it to his son-in-law.
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With his work on the ground in the last three years and an active participant in the agitation for Telangana before that, M Krishank, an Osmania University student leader who joined the Congress, was always the frontrunner to get the ticket. He has been leading from the front when it comes to articulating people’s issues in this reserved constituency in the state capital. His `basti nidras’ that involve spending the night in a slum, listening to their woes, sharing their dinner and sleeping under a tent, have helped him develop a connect with the urban poor. He also has a rapport with Rahul Gandhi and his team and with the party’s emphasis on fielding new and young faces, atleast on paper, Krishank fits the bill.
 
Enter his father-in-law Sarvey Satyanarayana, former Union minister in the UPA. He has also thrown his hat into the ring, staking his claim to the Secunderabad Cantt seat. His argument is that he is a senior face of the Congress, who has represented the constituency in 1985 on a Telugu Desam ticket. He was subsequently MP from Malkajgiri in 2009 and Secunderabad Cantt is one of the assembly segments under it. 
 
This family feud is making matters difficult for the Congress leadership. It is
neither able to refuse a senior leader like Satyanarayana nor does it see merit in rejecting a fresh face like Krishank who has nurtured the constituency, after being informally promised the ticket.
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In order to make Satyanarayana give way, a diktat was issued from Delhi to all former MPs who are contesting the assembly elections. They were told that in case they lose, they cannot expect a ticket in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Alternately word was reportedly sent to Satyanarayana that if he withdrew from the race, he would be fielded from Nagarkurnool seat which is considered a safe seat for the Congress.
 
But Satyanarayana is reportedly keen to contest because he believes a Dalit MLA has a good chance to become CM, if the Congress-led Grand Alliance comes to power in Telangana. He is banking on the anti-incumbency that exists against four-time MLA G Sayanna, who was elected in 1994, 1999, 2004 and 2014 on a TDP ticket. Sayanna subsequently migrated to the TRS and has been fielded by the pink party this time. 
 
Satyanarayana’s last two elections resulted in defeats. In 2014, he lost the Lok Sabha election from Malkajgiri and the following year, suffered a crushing defeat in the byelection from Warangal Lok Sabha constituency. 
 
The process of nominations opened on Monday and the Alliance list after several rounds of discussions is set to be announced on November 13. Krishank is hoping that the Congress will keep its word to give one seat to a student leader from Osmania University and among five claimants to such a quota seat, he has the best credentials.
 
His Plan B is to make it a family battle as an independent candidate or approach the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) for its elephant symbol. While conventional logic says that may end up helping Sayanna as he will split up the anti-TRS vote in the constituency, it is also quite possible that the Cantonment electorate could take a break from voting for familiar names who have represented them all for the last three and a half decades and plump for a new energetic candidate. 
 
It is not Krishank who is on test, it is the Congress that is being tested.
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The Tipu divide in Karnataka


By T S Sudhir

 
Since Siddaramaiah as chief minister in 2015 started celebrating the birth anniversay of Tipu Sultan as Tipu Jayanti in November every year, it has been an occasion for the Congress and the BJP to spar and cross swords over whether the king known as the `Tiger of Mysore’ was a patriot or a bigot and a murderer. Under Siddaramaiah’s stewardship, Tipu Jayanti was an integral part of the government calendar of events and with a Congress-JD(S) regime in Karnataka, it was expected that the tradition will be continued.
 
On 10 November it was, but with noticeable absenteeism on display. Chief minister HD Kumaraswamy reported sick and a statement from his office said : “On the advice of doctors, the chief minister will take three days rest till November 11. He will spend time with family on these days and there will be no official engagements on these days.” Lest it be construed that he was deliberately skipping the Tipu event, the CM sent across a message lauding the controversial ruler. It said : “Tipu Sultan’s progressive measures in administration and his quest for innovation are commendable.”

 

Deputy CM from the Congress flock, G Parameswara was abroad on Saturday. The government presence at official celebration was led by ministers DK Shivakumar and Zameer Ahmed Khan.

 
Not surprising then that Siddaramaiah in a cryptic tweet on Sunday morning seemed to express his displeasure. The translation of his Kannada tweet read thus : “Compromises are necessary sometimes for the public good and I may have done them too. But I can never compromise with fundamental principle of secularism. Power comes and goes. I don’t care.”
 
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Keen observers of Karnataka politics see this as an expression of Siddaramaiah’s peeve and a dig at Kumaraswamy. After all, the CM’s decision to skip Saturday’s event is bound to be interpreted as a snub to his predecessor. In fact, during the 2017 Tipu Jayanti, Siddaramaiah had promised to make the event more grand from the following year. 
 
While the BJP reaction to Tipu Jayanti was on expected lines, with several MLAs asking the government not to extend them invitations to attend Tipu Jayanti programmes in their constituencies, the fissures within the alliance will worry. More so since Siddaramaiah has gone public with his displeasure. Already his close aide and former Education minister Tanveer Sait, who is also MLA from Mysuru has described the absence of the top two of the Karnataka government as an “insult to the Muslim community”. 
 
Observers also believe the former CM is not too pleased over Shivakumar basking in the limelight of the event. Shivakumar’s tweet immediately after the byelection results on 6 November which the Congress-JD(S) alliance won by 4 seats to one, credited Rahul Gandhi and HD Deve Gowda but ignored Siddaramaiah who had in fact, led the campaign in Ballari. This despite the Congress victory in the backyard of the Reddy brothers being the biggest triumph in the victory march. 
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The BJP did not lose an opportunity to take a dig at Kumaraswamy abandoning a programme organised by his government in a bid to highlight the faultlines. Its Karnataka unit tweeted on Saturday : “CM @hd_kumaraswamy Missing ! While Cong-JDS govt is celebrating a tyrant Tipu, the CM himself goes into hiding, what is the point of celebrating a fanatic when CM himself abandons a govt function. Glorifying a mass murderer just for vote bank clearly shows mindset of this govt.”
 
The BJP also taunted Kumaraswamy for skipping the event due to superstition that association with Tipu brings bad luck. It pointed out that Siddaramaiah had lost the assembly elections in Chamundeswari in Mysuru district for the same reason.

Has `Sarkar’ made the Tamil Nadu sarkar the new censor board?


By T S Sudhir

 
Vijay announces himself as a “corporate criminal” in `Sarkar’. However, the real sarkar (government) in Tamil Nadu saw him as a political aspirant, calling his latest release an act of “sedition”.
 
It was a day of high drama on Thursday. Two senior ministers threatened the actor with legal action and on cue, the AIADMK cadre went on the offensive in different towns of Tamil Nadu, forcing theatres to cancel shows. A team of Chennai police landed up at the residence of director AR Murugadoss late at night and Sun TV (whose group company Sun Pictures is the producer of `Sarkar’) put out a tweet saying `Police reach AR Murugadoss residence to arrest him’. The Chennai police was to later clarify that they had gone to Murugadoss’ residence to provide security. The underlying message of intimidation was not lost on anyone.
 
The makers of `Sarkar’ have reportedly agreed to two changes in the movie. First, mute the name `Komalavalli’ of the female antagonist since it is the original name of J Jayalalithaa. Two, delete the scene where freebies like mixie are shown being flung into the fire by the public. The freebies were introduced by Jayalalithaa in 2011 and the portrayal was seen as insulting her memory. Law minister CV Shanmugam went a step further and said the scene would incite people to indulge in violence. It is a different matter that four days since the release of `Sarkar’, no one has thrown his/her mixie and wet grinder into the fire.
 
Of course, as pointed in my blog yesterday, the AIADMK smelt a political conspiracy since Kalanidhi Maran, the grand nephew of the late DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi is bankrolling `Sarkar’. Two, P Karuppaiah, a former MLA of the AIADMK from Harbour constituency in Chennai, plays the role of the chief minister in the movie. Karuppaiah was expelled from the party by Jayalalithaa in January 2016 for indulging in anti-party activities. Karuppaiah subsequently accused the AIADMK of indulging in corruption. 
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Now that the filmmakers have agreed to voluntary cuts, should we treat `Sarkar’ as a closed chapter or was there always more than what meets the eye? I feel this was a charade that was played out, intended to benefit certain individuals. The AIADMK used it as an opportunity to send a stern message across and those involved with `Sarkar’ would gain from being in the news.
 
Three questions for director Murugadoss. Did he and the production team not know that the AIADMK will see red when he named his antagonist as Komalavalli? Did they think the ruling party will keep quiet when their principal electoral card was  critiqued? Did they believe the AIADMK will then not connect the content to Maran and Karuppiah? 
 
Vijay’s movies have a history of creating a controversy. Whether it was Thalaivaa, Mersal or Kaththi, real-life controversies have provided it with the oxygen generating more box office interest. A movie like Mersal that otherwise may have been an also-ran, was targeted by the BJP for a dialogue criticising GST. The producers raked in the moolah. 
 
Incidentally, earlier this year two films `TamizhPadam2′ and `NOTA’ were released and both were far more scathing indictments of the ruling party’s politics of Tamil Nadu. The government did not think of slapping charges of sedition on them or brand them as terrorists. 
 
Why? Is it because both did not star a big draw like Vijay who has political ambitions and could emerge as a threat to the AIADMK in the future. In fact, CS Amudhan, the director of `TamizhPadam2′ nailed it in his tweet when he said tongue-in-cheek : “I strongly object to the fact that we were not given similar publicity, we also tried our best. This is totally partisan behaviour.” 
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It is also deeply ironic that a party that rode on cinema as a medium to spread its message is now frowning upon the use of 70mm to make a point. Perhaps the present deglamourised leadership of the AIADMK knows the power of cine glamour better than anyone else and would like to ensure against any more Kollywood imports making it big in politics. 
 
But was the AIADMK all wrong in objecting to the depiction of the AIADMK in the name of freedom of expression? To be fair, the Film certification board looks closely at how women, children, disabled, animals etc have been portrayed in a film. The rules do not look at whether any scenes could offend a political outfit. The manner in which the AIADMK objected, using raw power to browbeat was not correct but the flip side is whether a legal remedy with its inordinate delays would have helped its cause. 
 

So `Sarkar’ has resulted in a more intolerant Sarkar. On Friday, Revenue minister RB Udhayakumar emerged as the super censor in Tamil Nadu, laying out ground rules for Tamil films. He said controversial scenes with political motives should be avoided. “No one has the right to criticise Amma government’s welfare schemes,” he declared.

 
The worry is the rather casual manner in which the sedition law is sought to be used. Under Jayalalithaa, sedition charges were slapped against folk singer Kovan for criticising the liquor policy of the AIADMK regime. The Edappadi Palaniswami government perhaps wants to show it is truly Amma’s government when it comes to being authoritarian. 

Deja vu as Chandrababu, Deve Gowda look to repeat ’96


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By T S Sudhir

 
It must have been a sense of deja vu for HD Deve Gowda when Chandrababu Naidu came calling on him on Thursday afternoon. For a much younger Naidu had played a crucial part in the “humble farmer from Karnataka” becoming the Prime minister of India in 1996. Naidu was then the Convenor of the United Front. Twenty two years later, several political U-turns later, Naidu and Gowda find themselves on the same page and political corner. Wearing anti-Modism on their sleeve, their sights are set on doing a ’96 all over again.
 
Yes 96 !
 
I do not know if either Gowda or Naidu have seen `96′, a feel good Tamil movie that released last month. Starring Trisha and Vijay Sethupathi, this movie that centres around nostalgia about memories from a time gone by is a superhit. It is the story of two classmates who meet at a school reunion and guess what, the time gap is 22 years. 
 
After the meeting, when Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, who incidentally has been a film producer, said “They are old friends” he could well have been talking about `96′, the movie. 
 
Mr Deve Gowda and Mr Naidu’s poll arithmetic is good. 1996 will repeat in 2019,” said Kumaraswamy, making a political prediction. 
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Naidu’s day out in Bengaluru came a week after he met Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on 1 November. By shaking hands with the Congress, his party’s principal political rival for over three decades, Naidu demonstrated that rivalries also come with an expiry date. If you need proof, rewind to 2014. After all, four years ago, he had made peace with Narendra Modi, whose ouster as Gujarat CM he had demanded publicly after the riots of 2002. 
 
The Gowdas of Hassan too know a thing or two about convenient political friendships. Kumaraswamy had ditched the Congress to form a 20-20 government with the BJP in 2006. A decade later, he got back to doing business in government with the same Congress party.
The Congress has started losing its leaders in Andhra, upset as they are over being forced to do business with their principal political rival. But Rahul Gandhi may not lose sleep over it. His intention is to outsource the job of stitching together an anti-BJP alliance to Naidu and the Telugu Desam chief, eager to upgrade his profile from a regional satrap to a leader with a national profile is only more than willing to slip into the role of a headhunter for the UPA. It will help him position himself as one of the contenders for the top job should the numbers add up in favour of the UPA next year. It helps the Congress stay away from handling temperamental and ambitious allies.
 
The Congress also knows that it is unlikely to get sufficient numbers on its own in 2019. So for the time being, it is willing to encourage regional party leaders who would want to do a Kumaraswamy at the Centre. It could be Kumaraswamy’s father, Naidu, Sharad Pawar or anyone who gets sufficient numbers and is able to bargain better.
 
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There is also a subtext to the Naidu-Gowda meeting in the context of the intra-Telugu land competition. In April, Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao met Gowda and Kumaraswamy in Bengaluru, in an attempt to cobble together a non-BJP, non-Congress alliance. That did not quite work as most regional leaders felt such a front would only help the BJP return to power. Moreover, with Kumaraswamy finally ending up forming the government with the Congress in Karnataka, KCR’s hopes of keeping the national party out of an opposition arrangement were dashed. Naidu would want to make a success of getting all the leaders from south India on to his platform to begin with, to score points against a KCR. 
 
Is Naidu looking too desperate in his attempt to oust Modi? 
 
In 2014, Naidu went to the residence of popular Telugu star Pawan Kalyan, who had just floated his Jana Sena, to request him to support the TDP-BJP alliance in Andhra Pradesh. Naidu is a canny politician and knows when to stoop to conquer and his walking the extra mile to get Pawan on to his side was proof of that. 
 
The next few weeks are likely to see Naidu clocking more frequent flyer miles in order to create a rainbow alliance against the BJP. In culinary terms, it may turn to be like bisi bele bath, a spicy rice-based Kannada dish that Gowda may have treated Naidu to on Thursday, along with a cup of steaming kaapi !

Why the AIADMK sarkar is angry with `Sarkar’


By T S Sudhir

 
For Tamil actor Vijay, it would be a sense of deja vu. Last year’s Deepavali release `Mersal’ ran into a spot of bother with the BJP objecting to a dialogue in the film that was critical of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and a reference to the Gorakhpur hospital tragedy in which several infants died. The state unit of the BJP ran a campaign against Vijay, asking for the dialogue’s removal from the film. It ended up having the unintended effect of converting the movie into a superhit, with the curiosity factor driving the audience into the theatres. 
 
The controversy did not help the BJP’s image in Tamil Nadu with Vijay’s vast support base trending #MersalvsModi, dragging in the Prime minister into an issue he had nothing to do with.
 
A year later, Vijay’s `Sarkar’ has offended the Sarkar in Tamil Nadu. The AIADMK government is miffed at a song (Oruviral Puratchi) in the movie where people are shown throwing freebie items like mixies and grinders into the fire. `The Indian Express’ reports that film director AR Murugadoss himself makes a cameo appearance in the song. The welfare agenda and giving things for free to enlist their vote is part of the electoral culture in Tamil Nadu and the AIADMK sees Vijay as mocking both the party and the people. 
 
“It is not good for an upcoming actor like Vijay,” Information minister K Raju held out a veiled threat to Vijay. Law minister CV Shanmugam while speaking in favour of healthy criticism, said the film incited violence which was a “grave offence”. He even used the term `terrorists’ for those associated with the movie, warning of legal action against them.
 
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There is good reason for the AIADMK to feel upset over `Sarkar’. It is an intensely political film and that Vijay has political ambitions, is the worst kept secret in Chennai. There is no reason why the AIADMK will allow Vijay to build his political capital by using the ruling party for target practise. The AIADMK is convinced that Vijay’s insinuations are deliberate. The antagonist played by Varalakshmi is called Komalavalli, which was J Jayalalithaa’s original name (JJ’s grandmother was called Komalavalli).
There is another reason why the AIADMK believes the insult is a political conspiracy. The movie is produced by Sun Pictures, whose promoter Kalanidhi Maran is the grand nephew of the late DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi.
On paper, `Sarkar’ has been cleared by the certification board and therefore the AIADMK government does not have a leg to stand on, when it comes to opposing the movie. Moreover, there is no point in having a CBFC if the government is going to act as the Big Brother, having the final say on what offends it and what does not. You cannot have a democracy where the party in power clamps down on criticism of any sort.
But then that is not exactly the way things work in India. And many in the Tamil film industry know it only too well. Ask Kamal Haasan who has for long held the view that opposition to his `Vishwaroopam’ in 2013 by Muslim groups was an orchestrated effort.
Vijay himself has faced the brunt in the past. His 2013 release `Thalaivaa’ had the tag line of `Time to Lead’ and according to news reports of that time, it did not go down well with the powers that be in Tamil Nadu. The film was released after a delay of two weeks only after the tag was removed from all promotional material.
Since Sun Pictures has bankrolled the film, expect the standoff to adopt political overtones. The producers may not mind the controversy either since `Sarkar’ may end up going the `Mersal’ way. 
 
Did the AIADMK do the wrong thing by acting as a super censor? The argument is that if they turned a blind eye to the freebie culture encouraged by their late leader, Kollywood productions may become a fertile area for filmmakers to mock and criticise the party. Moreover, Vijay has a huge appeal among the youth and the family audience and such messaging could adversely affect the AIADMK. With Lok Sabha elections and bypolls to 20 assembly constituencies due in six months, that is hardly something the AIADMK can afford. 

Ravi’s Book of Intrigue (RBI) : Don’t Tell The Governor


By T S Sudhir

 

`Don’t Tell the Governor’ is easily Ravi Subramanian’s most `real’ work. So real that like in his previous thriller `In the Name of God’ that was based around the Padmanabhaswamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, Subramanian has put out an author’s note right at the beginning of the book claiming the book is “entirely fictional” and “is not intended to be a depiction of individuals who, in real life occupy these exalted positions that their titles suggest”. 

 
Ravi needed to put that because everyone down from the Prime Minister, Finance minister, Home minister, RBI Governor is a character in the novel. With that out of the way, Ravi in less than 300 pages spins together an intricate tale of deceit, intrigue, spying in the world of politics and the banking sector in India. Ravi understands the world of money better than most Indian authors which is why he is called the `The John Grisham of Banking’. He brings that intimate knowledge of how the system works to spin together an engrossing story that leads to a momentous financial decision that was taken in India on 8 November 2016. 
 
Yes, you guessed it right. 
 
Except that, as Ravi would like to underline, this is a work of fiction. 
 
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Like some of his earlier eight works, `Don’t Tell the Governor’ is located firmly in the banking system. But it is different from the others because for one, there is no murder taking place, no blood spilled right at the outset. It is not a Whodunit but there is enough bloodshed in the world of finance that Ravi manages to keep the reader engrossed in. 
 
I took five hours with just one break in between, to finish reading the book. 
 
Ravi has borrowed liberally from the world of news around us. What makes the difference is how he has tweaked the real with his imagination, to create his own world of make believe for the reader. In that sense, `Don’t Tell the Governor’ is very rooted in the present and anyone who has followed the news over the past couple of years in India, will relate to it.
 
 
Like most of Ravi’s characters, there is no black and white. There are lots of greys with principal characters caught in the vortex of events. The banking sector and political theatre come alive with flawed characters. Some of these are powerful characters who are confident thinking they are in charge but soon realise they are powerless when things spin out of control. The novel is also a scathing commentary on the masks politicians wear and how the system is ruthlessly manipulated. Ravi deftly brings out the gullibility of the Indian public when it believes what it wants to believe, without realising the truth is something entirely different. 
 
 
Interestingly, Ravi’s book released on 6 November, a day when former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan was on different business channels giving interviews on the state of the Indian economy. It also comes at a time when the relations between the Finance ministry and the RBI are going through a turbulent patch. In that sense, Ravi could not have asked for a better news timing for his book release.
 
 
I will recommend `Dont tell the Governor’. It is a definite page turner. You will enjoy it more if you are a news hound and even better, understand the world of finance and politics. The novel is published by Harper Collins, Rs 299.

Ten takeaways of the 4-1 verdict in Karnataka


So now we know how the people of Karnataka in five constituencies – three Lok Sabha and two Vidhan Sabha – have spoken. The five seats were from the Old Mysuru region (Ramanagara assembly and Mandya LS), central Karnataka (Shivamogga), Mumbai-Karnataka (Jamkhandi) and Hyderabad-Karnataka (Ballari LS). (Note : Some analysts would put Ballari in central Karnataka as well).
So they give a fair sense of the mood of the state six months after it threw up a fractured verdict to the Vidhana Soudha, resulting in the Congress and the JD(S) coming together to keep the BJP out of power. 
 
These are my ten takeaways from the verdict of the Karnataka byelections that went 4-1 in the favour of the alliance.
 
1. Math works. Repeat that. Math works. It worked to bring down BS Yeddyurappa’s son BY Raghavendra winning margin significant in Shivamogga. BSY in 2014 had won this Lok Sabha seat by 3.6 lakh votes. When you look at that kind of margin, you can only say Raghavendra was lucky to scrape through by 50000 votes. The optics of Deve Gowda and Siddaramaiah together on the campaign stage created the right impact on the voter’s mind.
 
2. Do not poach. Or at least poach intelligently. Ramanagara was a unnecessary fiasco. No one quite expected the BJP to score an upset win in the constituency that chief minister HD Kumaraswamy had vacated so the party could have used the opportunity to give one of its deserving karyakartas to test the waters. By importing a Congress leader who went back to his parent party on the last day of campaigning, embarrassed the BJP. It showed lack of ground level intel.
 
3. Ballari is bad news for Sriramulu and his backers, the Reddy brothers. The public of the `Republic of Ballari’ decided to show Sriramulu the door by rejecting his sister J Shanta (former MP In 2009) by a margin of around 2 lakh votes. It is the margin that made it humiliating because this ended the 14-year long hegemony of the Reddy brothers and Co. over Ballari. It is also a rebuff to Gali Janardhana Reddy who has been trying to influence the politics of Ballari by staying on the periphery of the district since he is not allowed to step inside as per court orders.
 
Criticise but do not make the campaign ugly and personal. Janardhana Reddy referred to death of Siddaramaiah’s son Rakesh due to multiple organ failure in 2016 as “a punishment from God”. Though the BJP distanced itself from Reddy’s uncivilised remark, asking him to apologise to Siddaramaiah, the damage was done. Many in Ballari were horrified at the level of political discourse sinking to this terrible low. After the results came, Siddaramaiah was to hit back by saying “Ballari people have cursed Janardhana Reddy for his inhuman behaviour”.
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4. Ever since the coalition government was formed, Kumaraswamy has spent much time firefighting. The feel good factor after these victories may give him a breather at least for some time. But that may last only for a while as the much-expected cabinet expansion is overdue. With the bypolls out of the way, expect the Congress leaders to start putting pressure to get inducted into the ministry. 
 
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5. The knives will be out for Yeddyurappa. The Shivamogga margin is hardly likely to please him and the 4-1 drubbing even more. A win in Ballari and an upset win against the sympathy wave in Jamkhandi for Anand Nyamagouda would have made it party time for the BJP. The party will look at it as an opportunity lost. Add to that the Ramanagara fiasco and Yeddyurappa will have to answer many tough questions from New Delhi. 
 
6. With Yeddyurappa crossing 75, the BJP will have to look at leaders beyond the former chief minister even though he still is the tallest pan-Karnataka leader it has. With Ananth Kumar also unwell, the BJP has a problem on its hands. Karnataka with its 28 seats is too important a catchment area for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The BJP will go with Modi as its mascot but it needs strong ground-level mobilisation to beat the opposition arithmetic.
 

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7. Siddaramaiah has taken revenge against Sriramulu for Badami. When the former CM decided to contest from Badami in addition to Chamundeswari in May 2018 elections, the BJP fielded Sriramulu to make matters difficult for him. Sriramulu succeeded in doing so and Siddaramaiah just about managed to win by 1700 votes. To defeat Sriramulu in his Ballari den would have given Siddaramaiah some satisfaction.
 
8. But there is reason to cheer in the numbers for the BJP as well. Despite the desertion by Chandrasekhar in Ramanagara, the BJP tally went up by 4800 in May to 15000 now. In Mandya, its candidate had secured close to 87000 votes in 2014, that number shot up to 2.44 lakh this time. This means good news for the BJP that in the tie-up between the JD(S) and Congress, both of who are strong in Old Mysuru region, it is able to get the main opposition space from where it can gradually grow.
9. Is there reason for Narendra Modi to worry? Yes and No. He should of course worry about the arithmetic but byelections are a different kettle of fish from the real elections. Modi and Amit Shah would do well to look at the April 2017 byelections to Nanjungud and Gundlupet, both of them won by the ruling Congress, one year before the assembly elections. But come May 2018, the BJP won both seats. Moreover, these results aren’t really a commentary on Modi, it was like round two of the assembly elections playing out, this time with Congress and JD(S) pooling resources. The state leaders of all three parties were the ones who led the campaign.
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10. The Karnataka experiment is the Congress opportunity to show that it can work with smaller alliance partners, even give them a significant share of the power pie. To that extent, the results will make it a happy Deepavali gift from Karnataka. But it would do well not to think that arithmetic will work the magic everytime in every constituency in 2019 too. The general elections with the Modi card, will be a different ballgame altogether.