It is a well-known fact that Karnataka does not vote in a uniform fashion. There are 6 distinct regions in the state comprising 30 districts and election after election has seen these regions voting differently.
Karnataka is divided into the Bangalore region, the coastal region, Old Mysore region, Hyderabad-Karnataka region, Mumbai-Karnataka region and Central Karnataka.
In the 2008 elections, the BJP did well in most of these regions. However, in 2013, there was a split across and the Congress romped home to victory. The BJP was plagued with division and the walking out of Yeddyurappa and Sriramulu in 2013 had a major effect on the BJP.
This year with Karnataka going to polls, it would be interesting to take a look at how these regions are likely to vote.
The urban pockets have traditionally been a stronghold of the BJP. The party did exceptionally well in this region in 2008 and also in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The BJP would look to work its Modi charm in this region and this is expected to pay dividends. However many in this region are unhappy with the BJP rule of 2008 and this is something that the Congress would capitalise on. The Congress would also depend heavily on the votes of the minorities to better its tally in the region.
This is a crucial region for the BJP as it is dominated by his traditional vote bank the Lingayats. While the Lingayats have backed B S Yeddyurappa of the BJP, there could be a twist in the tale this year. The Congress went ahead and suggested a religious minority tag for the Lingayats and is hoping that this would divide the BJP's vote bank. The BJP has been fire-fighting on this issue and also said that this was an attempt to divide Hindus. Would the BJP be able to stop the split? Time would tell.
Both the Congress and BJP tend to do well in the region. The BJP would not have forgotten 2013 when it put up a disastrous performance in this region. The BJP managed to win just 2 out of the 32 seats in this region. The Congress, however, is confident that it would start from where it left off in 2013 when it put up an impressive performance. The Congress would be mindful of the fact that the BJP is a combined unit and there is a strong Central leadership as well which could help the BJP.
In this region, the Lingayats, Reddy brothers of the BJP and Mallikarjuna Kharge of the Congress would be the key players. Both the Congress and BJP are leaving nothing to chance to win in Ballari. In 2013, the BJP thanks to infighting, the mining scam and the quitting of Sriramulu had suffered a drubbing in Ballari. However, the BJP is united today and is expecting to put up a good show. The Congress too has gone all out to pull out winning candidates from the BJP such as Anand Singh to ensure that it keeps its winning streak going. The Lingayat votes in this region also would be crucial for the BJP. The Congress would bank on Kharge who has a considerable say of the votes of the backward community in this region.
Old Mysore region:
This is a traditional hold of both the Congress and BJP. While the JD(S) has an influence on pockets, overall it has been a Congress stronghold. It is a Vokkaliga dominated region and both the Congress and JD(S) would look to pocket the votes. The BJP had recently roped in former Karnataka chief minister, S M Krishna, a Vokkaliga himself. The BJP hopes he would have some amount of influence on this vote bank. While the Congress hopes to take this region with ease, any alliance engineering by the BJP and JD(S) on the back of the scene could eat into the vote share of the Congress.
The coastal region:
The BJP made impressive strides in this region ever since Dhananjay Kumar had several years back beaten Janardhan Poojary of the Congress. The region has stuck with the BJP since then. However, 2013 saw a reversal and BJP put up its worst performance in recent times. The Church and pub attacks proved fatal to the BJP's chances in 2013 which was also coupled with the fact that the party was a divided unit. This year going by the early trends, it appears as though the BJP may sail through in this region.
|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|