Karnataka: What 2021 holds in store for the three parties | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: 2020 was a year of setbacks for the BJP, Congress and JD(S) with the pandemic playing major spoilsport. The unprecedented Covid-19 shutdown briefly interrupted political activities last year, but politics as such did not come to a standstill — and 2021 may be no different.
A string of bypolls, BBMP and other local body elections could throw up important indications, and the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine might kick up new controversies. As the year enters its second half, drumbeats of the battle for Karnataka in early 2023 will get louder too.
The new year will pose a bigger challenge for BJP, who needs to put to rest doubts about leadership issues that have been dogging the party for the most part of last year. The party must find an alternative leader at the earliest to fill in the big shoes of BS Yediyurappa, if it is keen to win the 2023 assembly and 2024 Lok Sabha polls. With 17 months of the Yediyurappa regime failing to effect any major changes in social and economic sectors because of floods, pandemic and leadership crisis, BJP has a job on hand to ensure good governance, its main plank, is visible on the ground.
A major challenge will be implementation of development projects and taking its message to the ground level. Of course, the party may not have too many problems in winning bypolls and civic body elections in its bastions. The upcoming budget session of the legislature could witness — and reflect — the dissent and anxieties that had been bottled up under pandemic curbs within the ruling party.
While the Congress may have had its way in the legislative council, blocking key bills that mattered to the government and managing to make enough noise over corruption allegations against BJP ministers and chief ministers, the party hasn’t really displayed any out-of-the-box thinking to translate that into tangible gains. The real test will come in the next few months, with a series of bypolls, BBMP and local bodies elections lined up.
The party drew a blank in 2020 and it can hardly afford any more debacles. It should find a winning formula to offer hope to its cadre and supporters. For that to happen, DK Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah should show the dexterity and astuteness to put up a united face to fight the polls. Shivakumar will also have to find a way out to see off the legal challenge. The party should reassess its political tactical line and electoral approach completely.

The regional party has no choice but to associate with BJP at least till 2022. Till such time, the party brass should resolve to adopt “flexible tactics” to meet swift changes in the political situation and make use of conflicts within the ruling party. What the party can take heart from is that it continues to wield political influence in the Old Mysuru region. There is very little the JD(S) can do to restore credibility because they have in their own ways continued to lose the trust their voters placed in them. Obviously though, the burden of restoring the credibility of the party and its leadership now completely rests on HD Kumaraswamy.
He also has a job cut out to retain the party MLAs, who are looking to jump the ship. The party should work on a consolidation of Vokkaligas, dalits and Muslim votes, if it all it wants to put up a decent fight against the two national parties.

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Sagar Biswas

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