It seems a fairly straightforward election. The BJP, which won power in Karnataka for the first time in 2008, has messed up spectacularly and is headed for defeat. In the past five years, it has had three chief ministers, one of whom has turned a rebel, has been enmeshed in corruption scandals and troubled by factionalism. The caste coalition it had built five years ago has cracked. At its peak in the outgoing Assembly, the BJP had 116 MLAs in a House of 224 (it had got 110 seats in 2008 but won a series of by-elections subsequently). When the votes are counted on 8 May, it will be happy to retain half that number.
It seems a fairly straightforward election. In 2008, the Congress won only 65 seats in the Assembly but 36 percent of the vote, just a shade more than the BJP. As the BJP vote splinters, it will require the Congress to merely retain its vote share to move towards a sweeping mandate and a comfortable majority. Opinion polls indicate this.
Rice for poor at Rs 1 per kg. Free laptops for students. Helipads in every taluk. But the number crunching shows that the BJP’s sops would remain just promises on paper.
The youth brigade of the Congress is miffed with the party leadership for ignoring them in ticket distribution. Ashhar Khan reports
The curse of the bypoll
Karnataka has witnessed more than 20 Assembly bypolls since the BJP government assumed power in 2008. Most bypolls happened in the backdrop of ‘Operation Lotus’ launched by the BJP to poach Opposition MLAs to maintain its numbers in the Assembly. With the Assembly election around the corner, four sitting MPs, one each from the BJP and the Congress, and two from the JD(S), are preparing to contest the state polls. If either of the four win, the state will witness another round of bypolls immediately after the Assembly election. While JD(S) state president and sitting MP from Bengaluru Rural HD Kumaraswamy is contesting from Ramanagara, his party colleague and MP N Cheluvaraya Swamy is eyeing the Mandya constituency. BJP MP PC Mohan, who won from the Bangalore Central constituency will contest from Gandhinagar. The Congress has fielded mining baron and Rajya Sabha member Anil Lad from Bellary City seat. If the Assembly election throws up a fractured mandate, it is feared that the state may see many such bypolls.
Yeddy’s secret to power
Skeletons are tumbling out of the closet as the election heat intensifies in Karnataka. V Dhananjay Kumar, a leader of BS Yeddyurapps’s Karnataka Janata Paksha, has accused senior BJP leaders of taking money from Yeddyurappa to let him continue in office, when the latter was in power. According to Kumar, BJP stalwart LK Advani’s children were among those who took money from the Lingayat strongman. Kumar said while Advani is campaigning against corruption and blaming Yeddyurappa for the loss of face of BJP in the state, why is he not talking about his children who took money from the CMs of BJP-ruled states. A stunned BJP has asked the Election Commission to initiate action against Kumar.
Chief minister Jagadish Shettar is busy chanting the ‘development’ mantra on the campaign trail. While he admits that the BJP regime made some mistakes during BS Yeddyurappa’s tenure, he claims the party has managed to provide clean governance in the past 10 months. Even though the electoral tide looks unfavourable to the BJP, Shettar tells Imran Khan why he is hopeful of the party making a comeback.
Desperate BJP goes back to playing the Hindutva card, says Imran Khan
The big story behind the verdict is the decline of the BJP in the state, after a decade of its meteoric rise
Sample Size: 4,366 randomly selected respondents across Karnataka during January 2013. Data is weighted to the known demographic profile of the state as per the 2001 Census. (Margin of error is +/- 3 percent at the state level and +/- 5 percent at the regional level)
Says he has no plans to bring down Shettar govt; his party will contest in 2013 Assembly elections
BJP calls it a terror attack aimed at its cadres. Congress calls it a political gimmick.Imran Khan reports
The Congress is tipped to win in Karnataka. But intense jockeying for the CM’s post is already curdling the situation.
In Karnataka, the BJP is at the receiving end of the very method it used to come to power — poaching MLAs from rival parties.
The move to consult Karnataka ministers at the Centre before finalising the candidates’ list has upset state party workers.
BS Yeddyurappa’s exit may dent the BJP’s fortunes in the state, says Imran Khan