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Karnataka: Congress set to return to power?

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The much-expected general elections to the Karnataka Assembly slated on Wednesday 10 May is just two days ahead while the possible outcome continues to remain a much-debated topic on all possible public platforms and social networking sites. A forecast of a majority of 17 pre-poll surveys, by and large, favours the Congress party returning to power. The electoral history of the state ever since 1978 has oft registered ousting of the party in power in every election, hinting at the expected results.

Anti-incumbency factor remains: Irrespective of the ruling party being national or regional, people of the state continue to remain unanimous in packing off the one at the helm of affairs. In 1978, despite a Janata Party wave all over North India during the 1977 Lok Sabha polls post the draconian Emergency, Indian National Congress (INC) bagged 149 seats followed by 59 of the Janata Party in a total strength of 224…
…Meanwhile, the same INC suffered a severe drubbing with 82 seats in the subsequent 1983 polls while the Janata Party (JP)-Kranti Ranga (KR) alliance wrested 95 constituencies. The alliance managed to come to power with the help of the 18 MLAs’ of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), CPI-3, CPI (M)-3 and 10 Independents. Thanks to frequent defections, desertions, pressures and pulls Ramakrishna Hegde opted for mid-term polls in 1985.

Sweeping majority to Janata Party: The ruling Janata Party bounced back and had a massive majority with 139 seats. Congress went further down with 63 seats while CPI was left with 01 and BJP reduced to 02 from 18. However, 22 Independents made it in the 1985 snap polls.

Veerendra Patil registers history: Thanks to the internal bickering within the ruling Janata Party, Veerendra Patil led Congress registered history by snatching 178 seats. In the bargain, Janata Party-02, Janata Dal-24 and BJP-04 became redundant. But, the trend was a reversal in the subsequent 1994 polls. JDS came back with a bang by winning 115 seats. BJP scored an unprecedented 40 while Congress-34 had to wash wounds yielding 10 seats to Karnataka Congress Party (KCP) floated by S Bangarappa, the Shivamogga strongman.

Congress walks back to power in 1999: In 1999, Congress was swept to power with 139 seats while BJP-44, JDU-18 and JDS-10 remained at a far-off and safe distance from the treasury benches. For the first ever time, BJP reached its highest tally of 79 in 2004, followed by Congress-65, JDS-58, JDU-05 and others-17…
…After the INC-JDS honeymoon followed by JDS-BJP bonhomie for 20 months under a failed 20-20 pact the state was forced to another round of polls before the tenure in 2008. In 2008 BJP improved its strength by reaching 110 while the Congress bagged 80 and the JDS left with 28 seats…

…Thanks to the exit of another Shivamogga strong man BS Yediyurappa before the 2013 polls floating Karnataka Janata Party (KJP), Congress returned to power with 122 seats. JDS and BJP got 40 seats each. KJP managed to get merely six seats but bulldozed the possibilities of BJP by garnering 10 per cent of the polled votes and thereby giving a dent to the parent party in more than 45 constituencies.

BJP was again short of a majority in 2018: Although BJP emerged as the single largest party in 2018 by bagging 104 seats, it was again short of the magic number of113+. Congress retained 80 seats while the Kingmaker turned King Party JDS remained at 37.

Is 2023 a repeat of the old debacle? If you were to closely observe these numbers one need not be a political pundit to conclude that the ruling BJP is at the receiving end. How many seats it will be reduced to remains a debatable subject while there is no doubt about Congress emerging as the party with the highest numbers. Then what about talks of a hung Assembly? This time around, that seems to be a remote possibility as the loss of the BJP is perceived as a penetration of Congress in making it all alone to form a government on its own!

BJP countdown began long back: Though multiple media outlets are vying with one another on the fallout of the ensuing polls the real countdown of the ruling party has begun more than a year back. The state witnessed by-polls to Chincholi, Hanagal and Sindagi Assembly seats and the Belagavi Lok Sabha constituency in the aftermath of successful Operation Lotus. BJP won in Chincholi and Belagavi, retaining them apart from wresting Sindagi from JDS and losing to Congress in Hanagal.

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A setback to the ruling Party: Irrespective of the Party in power, winning the by-polls is a forgone factor, thanks to the money power it boasts of. However and interestingly, the BJP lost in Hanagal, a traditional BJP bastion in Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s home district Haveri. Haveri Lok Sabha constituency is represented by Shivakumar Udasi, son of CM Udasi, due to whose demise the by-polls were held. Not only that, Union Minister late Suresh Angadi had won from Belagavi four times with a convincing margin. But in the by-polls, his wife literally struggled to register a win by a meagre 5,240 votes. In the bargain BJP vote, the share had dipped by 19.85 per cent while that of the Congress and MES shot up to 11.80 and 11.46 respectively. But glancing back, these results never proved to be eye-openers to the saffron party.

Belagavi, now a leaderless district: Added to such an adverse piquant situation Belagavi district with 18 constituencies is facing a paucity of leadership in multiple ways. Umesh Katti, Minister in the state and Suresh Angadi, Minister in the centre and Anand Mamani, Deputy Speaker passed away. Former BJP DCM Lakshman Savadi has deserted the Congress. To know his influence over the Ganiga-dominated constituencies, one has to wait for the results. But, before that, he will also have to win in his home Athani constituency. Former Rajya Sabha MP and Chairman of KLE Society since 1984, Prabhakar Kore has clout over the community for various reasons, but has refrained from active campaigning for reasons best known to himself.

Desertion in adjoining Dharwad district: Jagadish Shettar, former BJP Speaker, Minister, Chief Minister and also a contender to the top slot has also quit the party and joined the Congress after being denied a ticket to contest for the seventh time. The question of Lingayats being humiliated by the BJP has raised eyebrows among the community sites. Prime Minister Narendra Modi made use of the public meetings to make tall claims of Lingayat cms like S Nijalingappa and Veerendra Patil being ill-treated by the Congress. However, the same community leader BS Yediyurappa being insulted to the hilt by the party hierarchy is doing enough rounds on the social networking sites.

Centre’s step-motherly treatment: Karnataka also boasts of a dubious distinction of having an opposition party government in the state compared to the one in the centre. However, in spite of the same party at both, Karnataka continues to undergo step-motherly treatment from the centre. Even after suffering huge losses due to sudden floods, the state was deprived of adequate funds for relief measures. Though the state contributes a huge chunk to the centre in the form of GST, the same is not reciprocated according to official sources.

Enough funds from the centre: The party keeps reiterating that the state has been a beneficiary in a big way from the centre when it came to the release of funds. However, the same party cadres complain that the leadership hasn’t succeeded in convincing the same to the voters. No doubt, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s road shows across the state and more so in the capital city may result in a swing of urban votes. But to what extent it will help the candidates to emerge victorious needs to be watched and seen.

Congress manifesto to give a dent to BJP: Also, the Congress party’s series of freebies look like impacting the party in a positive manner, thus giving a dent to the ruling party. Everyone in the BJP was mocking the freebies of Congress but made a U-turn by announcing similar measures.

-Manohar Yadavatti


  1. ಗಣೇಶ ಜೋಶಿ, ಧಾರವಾಡ
    * ಈ ಹಿಂದೆ ಆಳುವ ಪಕ್ಷವನ್ನು ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ಮತದಾರ ತಿರಸ್ಕರಿಸಿ ವಿರೋಧ ಪಕ್ಷಕ್ಕೆ ಮಣೆ ಹಾಕಿದ ಇತಿಹಾಸ ಇದೆ ನಿಜ ಆದರೆ ಅದೇ ಬಗೆ ಈ ಬಾರಿಯೂ ಮರುಕಳಿಸು ವದೇ ಎಂಬ ಚರ್ಚೆ ಆಳವಾಗಿ ನಡೆಯುತ್ತಿದೆ ಆದರೆ ಮತದಾರನ ಅಂತರಂಗ ಬಹಿರಂಗ ಆಗುತ್ತದೆ ನಂತರವೇ ನೈಜ ಫಲಿತಾಂಶ ಗೊತ್ತಾಗುತ್ತದೆ ಇಲ್ಲಿ ವರೆಗಿನ ಹಿಂದಿನ ಸಮೀಕ್ಷೆಗಳು ಕೆಲ ಉಲ್ಟಾ ಪಲ್ಟಾ ಆಗಿವೆ ಆದರೂ ಕಾದುನೋಡಬೇಕಿದೆ ನಿಮ್ಮ ಸಮೀಕ್ಷೆ ಇತಿಹಾಸದ ರಿಜಲ್ಟ್ ಮೇಲೆ ಕ್ಷೇತ್ರವಾರು ಸಂಚರಿಸಿಲ್ಲ ಕಾದು
    ನೋಡಬೇಕಿದೆ ಅಭಿನಂದನೆಗಳು 👏ಅವಲಂಬಿಸಿದೆ ಹಿಂದಿ ನಂತೆ

    1. One sided,biased article

  2. Replies
    1. ಒಳ್ಳೆಯ ಲೇಖನ. ತುಂಬಾ ಮಾಹಿತಿ ನೀಡುವಂತಹದ್ದಾಗಿದೆ. ಧನ್ಯವಾದಗಳು ಉತ್ತಮ ವಿಶ್ಲೇಷಣೆ. ಆದರೆ ಇತಿಹಾಸದ ಉದ್ದಗಲಕ್ಕೂ ಅವಲೋಕಿಸಿದಾಗ ಕೇಂದ್ರದಲ್ಲಿ ಅಧಿಕಾರ ಹಿಡಿದ ಪಕ್ಷ ನಮ್ಮ ರಾಜ್ಯದಲ್ಲಿ ಇಲ್ಲದಿರುವಾಗಲೆಲ್ಲ ಅಭಿವೃದ್ಧಿ ಕುಂಠಿತವಾಗಿದೆ. ಇದು ಖೇದಕರ.

  3. Good Analysis,Congress to bank on anti incumbency vote ,BJP badly messed up


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