Karnataka bypolls: Sympathy factor failed to have huge voter impact | Hubballi News – Times of India

Mangala Angadi; Mala Narayanarao (R)

HUBBALLI: North Karnataka on Sunday saw the defeat of Mala Narayanarao, wife of late Congress MLA B Narayanarao, and narrow victory of Mangala Angadi, wife of late BJP Union minister Suresh Angadi. Mangala made the final cut with a margin of 5,240 votes.
While both parties fielded spouses of their late leaders to garner votes, the sympathy card appears to have lost its sheen as it didn’t necessarily translate into many votes.
The strategy failed in the 2020 byelections too, when in Sira, JD(S) fielded the better half of late MLA B Satyanarayana, but was relegated to third place when results were declared.
On Sunday, when results were announced, a similar fate befell Mala Narayanarao, Congress candidate from Basavakalyan, who lost to the BJP candidate by over 20,000 votes.
Even in Belagavi Lok Sabha byelection, Mangala’s victory margin was a paltry 5,240 votes when compared to a whopping margin of 3.9 lakh garnered by her husband in the 2019 general elections. In fact, Suresh Angadi’s margin was one of the highest in the country at that time.
Kamalakshi B Tadsad, political observer and professor at Rani Channamma University, said the only exception seen in the recent past, where the sympathy factor worked, was in Kundagol byelection of 2019. Kusuma Shivalli won on Congress ticket, following the untimely demise of her husband CS Shivalli.
“However, such sympathy was not visible in Belagavi, where feudal politicking is strong and an elite concept of politics exists. Opponents are dominant in fields such as sugar industry, cooperative banking, etc., while women candidates are perceived to be mild,” she said.
Basavarajeshwari Patil, an assistant professor of political science, noted that sympathy wave failed in front of caste combinations, which saw BJP consolidate its votes in Basavakalyan.
“The RSS cadre worked on the ground and ensured there were no challenges like it faced in Belagavi. Congress lacked leadership and ground work, while minority communities’ votes were divided between different candidates,” she added.
In fact, in 2018 assembly elections, Congress had won Basavakalyan with a margin of 17,272 votes, while this time it lost with a yawning gap of over 20,000.

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Sagar Biswas

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