Parties make calculations based on voter turnout

Sira is being seen as a tight three-cornered fight and R.R. Nagar as a direct fight between Congress and BJP

A day after a contrasting voting pattern emerged in Sira and Rajarajeshwarinagar Assembly constituencies where bypolls were held on Tuesday, political circles are agog with calculations over the winnability. Sira is being seen as a tight three-cornered fight and R.R. Nagar as a direct fight between the Congress and the BJP.

Ducking the COVID-19 pandemic, Sira recorded 84.54% turnout while R.R. Nagar saw its worst performance in terms of voting in five elections since 2013 at 45.24%.

Booth-wise calculations on voting figures are being interpreted in different ways by the parties. While both the Congress and the BJP exuded confidence in winning both the Assembly constituencies, the Janata Dal (Secular) has expressed confidence of retaining Sira. “We will win in Sira as our traditional voters turned out in big numbers. Our information from ground is that sympathy factor has worked,” JD(S) spokesperson T.A. Sharavana said.

The impressive turnout, especially by women, farmers and electors above 40 years in rural pockets in Sira constituency is being seen as a support to the JD(S) while the BJP’s confidence comes from a big turnout of young voters in Sira town as well as rural pockets. The Congress is banking on its traditional votes.

“The BJP will secure more than 9% that it had garnered in the previous elections. It will be interesting to see how they will make inroads into JD(S) or Congress vote bank. It is expected that the Vokkaliga votes — a sizeable chunk — will consolidate. The party that will retain its vote bank is likely to be the victor,” a leader said.

However, BJP spokesperson N. Ravikumar said that there is a divide of Kunchitiga-Vokkaliga votes in Sira as all the three parties fielded candidates from the same community even as the minor and major backward classes and Scheduled Castes have voted for BJP.

In R.R. Nagar, low turnout has given some jitters to the Congress. “Even in the low turnout, the pockets where voters from socio-economically weaker sections are high in number turned out in big numbers, and they are believed to be supporters of BJP candidate Munirathna. However, there could be some kind of consolidation of Vokkaliga votes in favour of Congress,” a Congress source said. KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar said that low turnout is a reflection of people’s disillusionment with both the State and Union governments.

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