The BJP would be hoping for a repeat of 2008 when it won the Karnataka assembly election and went on to form the government. The backbone of the BJP, the Lingayats backed the party in 2008 and helped it form the government.
A recent survey would however give the BJP some reason to smile as it suggests that 61 per cent of the Lingayats would back the BJP. This is a ten per cent increase when compared to 2008. The 2013 poll cannot be taken as a case study for the BJP as the party was split three ways.
A study that was conducted by the Centre for Studies of Developing Societies (CSDS) suggests that the BJP had in 2008 bagged 51 per cent of the Lingayat votes under the leadership of B S Yeddyurappa. The Congress got 25 per cent while the JD(S) bagged 15 per cent of this vote share in 2008.
When it came to the Vokkaliga votes, the JD(S) bagged 40 per cent while the Congress and BJP got 25 per cent and 18 per cent respectively. For the Congress, the Muslims have been the biggest supporters. The party bagged 65 per cent of the Muslim votes in 2008.
This was followed by 50 and 44 per cent from the Dalit and Adivasi community respectively that polled in favour of the Congress. The BJP, on the other hand, bagged 20, 25 and 11 per cent of the Dalit, Adivasi and Muslim votes respectively.
There are two very important factors in 2018. Firstly the BJP is a united unit and this the party would hope will help rope in the Lingayat votes. Dr. Sandeep Shastri, leading psephologist says that in 2013, the BJP and KJP together polled 70 per cent of the Lingayat vote.
The BJP would be hoping to retain that or better its performance this year. The BJP has in some elections even polled 81 per cent of the votes. However this time there is a slight twist to the tale and the religious minority issue is what will help decide the outcome of which way the Lingayat votes would swing.
|Karnataka Assembly Election dates|
|Date of notification||April 17|
|Last date to file nominations||April 24|
|Last date to withdraw nominations||April 27|
|Date of polling||May 12|
|Date of counting||May 15|