Karnataka election 2018: With the Karnataka assembly elections around the corner, both Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress have locked horns with each other.
With the Karnataka assembly elections around the corner, both Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress have locked horns with each other. Assembly elections in Karnataka assume greater importance for the Congress party as it is desperate to return to power in Karnataka. Apart from Punjab, Karnataka is the last big state where Congress is in power. Not only Congress, BJP as well as JD(S) are also not leaving any stone unturned for the polls.
Having been stung in recent Uttar Pradesh by-polls, the BJP would not want lose Karnataka, which is the only South Indian state where BJP has a strong chance of winning the elections. The saffron party has fielded B.S. Yeddyurappa, a prominent Lingayat leader, as its chief ministerial candidate. The saffron party does not want to upset its prospects of winning Karnataka elections as it did in 2013 when Yeddyurappa was forced to quit as chief minister following corruption charges.
Lingayat community makes up to 17 per cent of the population of Karnataka and both Congress and BJP eyeing this votebank. Other than the Yeddyurappa factor, BJP would contest 2018 Karnataka polls banking on its past electoral performance in 2014 when it had won 17 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats. The 2014 performance for BJP was way better than the number of seats it had won in 2008 when it bagged 110 seats to form the first BJP government ever in the South.
Besides, BJP is banking on the NAMO factor as PM Narendra Modi would be addressing aound 15 public meetings for Karnataka elections in May, like he did for Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections in 2017.
The Congress is relying heavily on its traditional support base from backward castes, scheduled castes, and minorities. Congress would contest 2018 assembly polls on the merits of never getting less than 35 per cent votes in the state, barring 1994 elections and incumbent CM Siddaramaiah’s policies and schemes like Indira canteens.
Congress has managed to retain around 35 per cent of votes in the state, in Lok Sabha or Vidhan Sabha.In 2014, the party secured 41.1 per cent votes despite Modi wave. The party has to maintain it’s consistent vote base along with the support of either of the dominant communities – Lingayats or Vokkaligas.