oppn parties Karnataka: Does Hung Assembly Mean BJP-JD(S) Will Form The Next Government?

News Snippets

  • SC says it will revisit its definition of 'Hindutva' in the light of growing hate speeches
  • Indigo reduces the flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra to three months after an inquiry committee finds that it was a Level 1 offense not meriting a 6-month ban
  • Akali Dal MP Naresh Gujral says Delhi Police did not act on his phone call asking them to help 16 people trapped in riot-hit areas
  • AAP councillor Tahir Hussain, booked for murder and arson, says he is being framed
  • New HC bench allows the Delhi Police plea that the situation is no conducive to the filing of FIRs and also allows the Centre to become a party to the case
  • Justice S Muralidhar of the Delhi High Court, who was part of the bench that pulled up the Delhi Police for not filing FIRs against BJP leaders for hate speeches, transferred to Punjab HC
  • Two Special Investigation Teams (SITs) of Crime Branch in Delhi Police have been formed under DCP Joy Tirkey and DCP Rajesh Deo. The teams will immediately take over the investigations of the cases related to northeast Delhi violence. Both the teams will be under the supervision of BK Singh, additional commissioner of police (Crime Branch)
  • Sporadic violence was reported from riot-hit areas in the capital as the intensity of the madness seems to have abated. The death toll has risen to 37
  • Special DG (Training) in CRPF, S N Shrivastava, appointed special commissioner (law & order) in Delhi Police in order to quell the violence. He is also expected to take over as chief of Delhi police once Amulya Patnaik's term ends on February 29
  • Curfew and shoot at sight orders reportedly in force in some areas, but Delhi Police HQ does not issue a notice for the same
  • The Central government has pressed paramilitary forces to control the riots in Delhi
  • Mobs in Delhi target journalists, check them for religious identity and snatch equipment
  • 13 people deal until now in one of the worst spells of violence in Delhi
  • Violence in Delhi shows no signs of abating with fresh areas in the north-eastern part of the capital coming under its grip
  • Delhi High Court says DGCA was wrong in approving the flying ban on stand-up comic Kunal Kamra by airlines other than Indigo for his alleged misbehavior with TV anchor Arnab Goswami aboard an Indigo flight
Delhi Police file a case for murder and arson against Aam Aadmi Party councillor Tahir Hussain. Hussain is believed to have played a role in the murder of IB staffer Ankit Sharma whose body was found in Jafrabad
oppn parties
Karnataka: Does Hung Assembly Mean BJP-JD(S) Will Form The Next Government?

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2018-04-25 20:58:25

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Opinion polls show that Karnataka is headed for a hung assembly. The Times Now and Voters Mood Research poll puts Congress at 91 and BJP at 89, with regional party JD(S), with its ally BSP, at 40. A party, or an alliance, needs 113 seats to form the government in a house of 224 members. These polls show that while the Congress has slipped from the 122 seats it won in 2013, the BJP is set to more than double its tally. In terms of vote share, while there will not be a swing away from the Congress, the BJP is set to get a 15 percent swing in its favour. The biggest losers are others who are set to lose 18 seats and more than 18% vote share.

While the BJP seems to be gaining, these figures will provide little comfort to Messrs. Modi and Shah. It is absolutely necessary for the BJP to snatch Karnataka from the Congress if it has any pretensions of calling itself a pan-Indian party. For, the state is its best bet in south India, where it does not have a footprint. The BJP had ruled the state for a full term of five years from 2008 to 2013. It has the necessary infrastructure, local leaders and dedicated workers in place. There are no small local parties to queer the pitch like in other southern states. Hence, the BJP has to work hard in the home stretch to swing at least 25 more seats. Some say this will happen when Modi hits the campaign trail.

The Congress can take heart from the fact that there is no negative wave against Siddaramaiah. In fact, most polls show that he is the preferred choice for chief minister of a large number of people. At 46%, he pips Yeddyurappa by a clear margin of 14 percentage points. But since people will vote for the party and not Sidda, the Congress will also have to work hard to translate its vote share, which sees a two percent jump despite incumbency, into seats. Siddaramaiah has called Modi, Shah and Yogi “north Indian imports” of the BJP. Now how will he use Rahul Gandhi to campaign for the Congress? Still, the Congress should make the most of the absence of anti-incumbency wave to retain the state. It will be a huge boost for the party. Conversely, a loss in Karnataka will mean that the party will lose the last big state it is ruling. The stakes are very high for Rahul Gandhi.

On the other hand, the JD(S) is sitting pretty. It knows that it can never hope to form the government on its own. But more importantly, it also knows that given the emerging situation, the Congress and the BJP will not be able to form the government without its support. Although the party is not going to hit the high point of 2003 when it got 58 seats, it is expected to get a respectable 40, a number that is good enough to make it the king maker. The wily H D Deve Gowda and his son H D Kumaraswamy have played their cards well and have not let the two national parties eat into their loyal vote bank, which has hovered between 20 to 21.5% for the last 15 years. Now, the duo must be readying for hard bargaining in case people return a hung assembly as predicted by the opinion polls.

With the JD(S) vote share not amenable to poaching, both the Congress and the BJP will have to target fence sitters and those who vote for the so-called ‘others’- independents or candidates of very small parties. Opinion polls show that more than 18 percent of this vote share has shifted loyalty. But 5 percent still remains. Both the parties will have to work their way with these voters to make up the shortfall of seats that will prevent them from forming the government. It seems even that will be insufficient and JD(S) will hold the trump card. With the Congress already having accused the JD(S) of having a secret alliance with the BJP, it stands lesser chances of winning it over. Does the BJP then stands a chance of forming the next government in Karnataka with the help of JD(S)? Will BSP, the alliance partner of JD(S), allow that to happen? Only time will provide an answer to that.