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Why Karnataka Election Will Witness an Aggressive ‘BJP Vs Congress’

January 19, 2018

Why Karnataka Election Will Witness an Aggressive 'BJP Vs Congress'

The air is thick with the speculations if the fierce competition that we witnessed in Gujarat elections last year between BJP and Congress will be replayed in Karnataka? The chants of ‘Ab ki Baar Karnataka’ that followed soon after BJP claimed the Gujarat elections, were perhaps only a pre-indication to describe what is to follow. We look at the main governing factors and try to solve the political equation we have in front of us for the poll-bound state.

Yeddyurappa Factor Alters the Equation

There is a major competition waiting for the current leading party Congress as Yeddyurappa has arrived back on the scene. The most senior leader of BJP left the party to form his own Karnataka Janata Dal (KJP), which leads to division of votes between his and the saffron party. The votes were split due to Lingayat and Vokkaliga communities and this gave Siddaramaiah a major boost, who won the 2013 elections with the support of backward classes, Dalits, and other minorities. Now as Yeddyurappa is back with them, BJP can again see its power growing in the state. A fierce clash is inevitable.

A Deeper Peek into the Situation: Pre-Poll Surveys

Taking the help of the pre-poll surveys to conjecture about the results, no party seems to have a majority. In addition to main parties like Congress and BJP, a third player JD(S) too enters the picture. The pre-poll prediction suggests most seats for Congress, pinning it at the top with 88 seats. But the saffron party dangerously comes a close second with 82 seats. There were 43 seats for the JD(S) and rest scattered between other parties. This clearly points to the fact that there will be a stiff contest between INC and BJP with an additional factor of an alliance forming between either of the main party with JD(S).

Parties Reluctance to Form Alliance

Coalition forming is something which both parties apparently dread. In 2004 Assembly elections, Congress formed the coalition with JD(S) which collapsed only after 19 months. Despite several attempts for negotiations, JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy could not become CM and have to settle for the post of Deputy CM and Congress’ Dharam Singh went on to become CM. There were many reasons suggested for the crumble of the coalition, ranging from Congress poaching for Siddaramiah, the then member of JD(S), and its refusal to form the coalition for elections for local bodies. There were also rumors that Congress was planning for the midterm elections.
BJP ‘s coalition history with JD(S) is even more scared and tensed. With BJP, the deal was to form a government in which CM title would be shared between BS Yeddyurappa(of BJP) and Kumaraswamy(of JD(S)) for an equal period of time. The first phase of the chief ministership was to covered by the Kumaraswamy while Yeddyurappa serves as his Deputy. But at the time of transfer of the title, Kumaraswamy refused. This made Yeddyurappa and all the BJP ministers to quit. BJP formally withdraw their support to Karnataka government, which led to the crumbling of government and Karnataka came under President’s rule.
But only a few days after a month, both parties decided to give another chance to the alliance. Then Yeddyurappa was made the CM but he could only keep his post for 7 days as this time JD(S) withdrew the support.
It is apparent that both the parties will do best in their power to come in a majority and not to fall back on forming a coalition with other parties.

All the facts and figures point towards a fierce battling between the two parties. Perhaps, we might even see more aggressive campaigning and mudslinging in Karnataka Assembly elections 2018 than we saw in Gujarat.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed are of those of the author and do not represent the views of Elections.in.


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