oppn parties Karnataka Elections: Final Assessment

News Snippets

  • Supreme Court holds hotels liable for theft of vehicle from their parking area if parked by valet, says "owner's risk" clause is not a shield from such liability
  • Finance Minister says she is receiving feedback from many sectors that recovery is happening as there is lower stress
  • Sabarimala temple opens, but police bar the entry of women below 50 years
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India and BPCL to be sold off by March
  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
  • Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress postpone meeting the governor of Maharashtra
  • Shiv Sena not to attend the NDA meeting on 17th November, says break up "a formality"
  • Shiv Sena says that the confidence the BJP is showing about forming the government in Maharashtra is based purely on its expectation of getting numbers through horse trading
  • Anil Ambani resigns as director of the bankrupt Reliance Communications
  • India beat Bangladesh by an innings and 150 rums inside three days in the first Test. Indian pacers excel after Mayank Agarwal's double century
  • Sena-NCP-Congress work out a common minimum programme, will form the government soon and it will last 5 years, says Sharad Pawar
  • Income Tax Appellate Tribunal upholds the decision to withdraw the charitable status of Young India, making it liable to pay Rs 145 in income tax. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra are the majority shareholders in the company
  • CBI raids offices of Amnesty International across India
  • Supreme Court quashes NCLAT order against Arcelor Mittal and paves the way for the company to take over ailing Essar Steel
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says concerns of telcos will be addressed and no company will close down
Supreme Court dismisses plea for review in Rafale case, says no need for roving inquiry, maintains clean chit to government
oppn parties
Karnataka Elections: Final Assessment

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
With campaigning over, it seems none of the parties or personalities have managed to ignite a spark in the Karnataka elections despite the acrimonious tone of the campaign. This election will go down as the most ‘wave-less’ election ever in recent memory. If there is anti-incumbency against the Congress and Siddaramaiah, it is not overtly visible and neither does it seem that the BJP has majorly capitalized on it. It is also not immediately visible whether PM Modi’s campaigning blitz has swayed a sizeable number of voters towards the BJP. Neither is it visible whether the JD(S) has managed to influence voters with its talk of non-Congress, non-BJP government. With the Lingayats divided over how granting of minority status will benefit the community, it is also not clear which way their votes will go. An added element of mystery was introduced after fake voter cards were discovered in large numbers in the state. Further, it was reported that parties, especially the BJP, was ‘buying’ voters for not voting, something that has never been seen before. Hence, for all analytical purposes, it seems that Karnataka is headed for a hung assembly, as predicted by most opinion polls till now, with a plus-minus variation of 5%.

The stakes are high for all parties. The Congress desperately needs to retain the biggest state it still rules, more so when it means that it will prevent the BJP from expanding its footprint in the south. This is evident from the fact that the party even pressed the ailing Sonia Gandhi to campaign and former PM Manmohan Singh was made to issue scathing criticisms of PM Modi’s choice of words during the campaign and failure of his government at the Centre on two successive days, apart from the time and effort Rahul Gandhi put in the campaign. The BJP knows that Karnataka is the only state in the south where it has the best chance of forming the government, either on its own or in alliance with the JD(S). Hence, it has pulled out all the stops and has poured in money, mobilized workers and has carried out a high-octane campaign with Modi pitching in for many days at the end. The JD(S) knows that it has little chance of forming the government on its own, but it also knows that the way things are going, it will be the kingmaker. Hence, the party is working hard to retain its loyal vote bank and win as many seats as it can so that it can bargain hard with the suitor.

It needs reminding that Siddaramaiah was a Deve Gowda protégé and a JD(S) leader before he left the party to join the Congress in 2006. Hence, a natural enmity can be said to exist between him and Deve Gowda. Still, politics has often thrown up strange bedfellows and it will not be a surprise if they join hands. It all depends on which party manages to emerge on the top and what is the difference in seats between the top two. If the BJP manages to get nearly the same seats that the Congress gets, it is most likely that JD(S) will gravitate towards the party. On the other hand, a JD(S)-Congress alliance is more likely if the Congress gets, say, 100 seats to BJP’s 70 and the JD(S) manages to get 40-50 seats. The only thing that will perhaps prevent the JD(S) from allying with the BJP, despite the mutual admiration society PM Modi and Deve Gowda seem to have formed, is the fact that H D Kumaraswamy, Deve Gowda’s son, will be wary of the party since he burnt his fingers badly when he allied with it in 2004.But Deve Gowda is likely to prevail upon his son to forget the past in the larger interests of the party if the situation demands. So if the Congress does not get more than 95 seats, it is most likely that the BJP-JD(S) combination will form the next government in Karnataka.