India has given a decisive mandate to Narendra Modi-led NDA alliance. In this virtual "TsuNaMo", most of the interesting key fights which garnered much media attention have gone in only one direction. The battle between Nandan Nilekani of Congress and Ananth Kumar of BJP in Bangalore South was no exception to this general trend. Kumar has humbled Nilekani to win the seat for the 6th time in a row!
Media projected the race for Bangalore South Lok Sabha seat to be a close one. Nandan Nilekani, the pin-up boy of Indian IT industry was taking on Ananth Kumar, who is known to have a cold relationship with dominant BJP leader of the state, BS Yeddyurappa. But in reality the battle turned out to be extremely one sided. Ananth Kumar triumphed over his more fancied rival by nearly 2 lakh 28 thousand votes. Not only did he win convincingly, but also completely bucked any trend of local anti-incumbency by increasing his margin by nearly 2 lakh votes! When Nilekani conceded defeat with couple of rounds yet to be counted, it was evident from his body language that the magnitude of the loss has literally left him shell-shocked.
The campaign style of these two leaders couldn't have been starkly different. Ananth Kumar, a protege of Lal Krishna Advani, is predominantly an old-school politician who banked mainly on his party organization. Nandan Nilekani, however, launched a hi-tech campaign. He had a team of young IT professionals who analyzed voters profile right up to the booth level, so that Nilekani could maximize the harvest from his campaign. Perhaps understanding that Congress is on a sticky wicket in this election, Rahul Gandhi's cherry-picked aide Nilekani mostly asked electorate to vote for him, stressing less on his party.
Others in the race
Other notable candidates in the fray, among the 23 running, were Ruth Manorama of Janata Dal (Secular) and Nina Patnaik of the Aam Aadmi Party. Manorama sought to leverage the perceived unhappiness of the Vokkaliga community with BJP for bringing back BS Yeddyurappa, ex-Chief Minister and a dominant Lingayat leader in its fold. The inclusion of the likes of Yeddyurappa was also made an election issue by Patnaik, who tried to attack both BJP and Congress for compromising on corruption. But as results indicate, both JDS and AAP candidate failed to resonate with the voters, losing their deposits in the process.
Militant Hindutva was also given thumbs down by the electorate with Pramod Muthalik getting merely 4,247 votes.
Media, over the years, have speculated that Ananth Kumar does not get on very well with Narendra Modi. Kumar facing an aggressive campaign from Nilekani pulled off a coup when he persuaded Modi to campaign for him. Not only did it quell the rumours within media, but also forced the Yeddyurappa faction of the party to completely support him.
In the end, Kumar's decisive mandate can largely be attributed to the Modi wave that tipped the scales in his favour. Not only in South Bangalore, but across whole Karnataka, BJP fared well after being booted out of power merely a year ago. Even stench of corruption in the local Karnataka unit of BJP failed to make any impact with Yeddy and Sriramulu, all winning comfortably. People across the nation, including in Bangalore South, looked at the bigger picture for the sake of "Modi Sarkar". For all his brand imaging, Nilekani was seen to be a part of the ineffective regime of Manmohan Singh, as he was the chairman of the UIDAI or Aadhar project.
Kumar is all set to get an important portfolio in the Modi government. Nilekani, on his part, has promised to stay in politics and work for Bangalore.
Bangalore South General Election Result 2014
|Ananth Kumar||Bharatiya Janata Party||633,816|
|Nandan Nilekani||Indian National Congress||405,241|
|Ruth Manorama||Janata Dal (Secular)||25,677|
|Nina P Nayak||Aam Aadmi Party||21,403|
|Khan Abdul R||Bahujan Samaj Party||2,747|
|M. Umadevi||SOCIALIST UNITY CENTRE OF INDIA (COMMUNIST)||918|
|Ravikumara T||Samajwadi Party||781|
|G. Venkatesh Bhovi||Independent||736|
|T. E. Moses||Independent||604|
|G.R. Shivashankar||All India Forward Bloc||586|
|Dr. Pradeep Gadugesh||Independent||549|
|Dr. Kodur Venkatesh||Independent||502|
|Gayathri||Pyramid Party of India||484|
|Mahadeva Swamy. B. M||Bharatiya Dr. B.R.Ambedkar Janta Party||428|
|Syed Mehaboob||Janata Dal (United)||365|
|Syed Rafiq Ahmed||Independent||246|
|None of the Above||None of the Above||7,414|