The Karnataka election results were declared on May 15, with no party getting the majority. As the hectic political parlaying continues, the trends in the different regions have thrown up some significant insights on how the electorate participated in the voting process.
Of the 224 seats in the Assembly, 222 went to polls on May 12. BJP won 104 seats, while the incumbent Congress was reduced to 78 seats. Widely touted to be the kingmaker, JD(S) won 37 seats and is now trying to form the government with the help of Congress. One seat was won by an Independent candidate, while another was won by a small party - the Karnataka Pragnyavantha Janatha Party (KPJP).
The state of Karnataka can be broadly divided into 6 regions - Bengaluru Urban, Old Mysuru, Mumbai Karnataka, Coastal Karnataka, Hyderabad Karnataka and Central Karnataka. We take a look at how the results in these regions shaped the politics of the state as a whole.
Bengaluru Urban: 28 seats
The capital has 28 seats, but elections were held only in 26 seats on May 12. The two remaining constituencies will go to polls on May 28 later this month. The city has always seen a battle between the Congress and BJP, with JD(S) not playing a major role here. This time, civic issues dominated the political discourse in the region, with pothole-riddled roads, traffic congestion, dirty lakes, pollution, etc., being major talking points. And even though the city has an active citizenâ€™s network, it is infamous for its poor voter turnout. And this time too, in spite of awareness programmes and numerous voter registration drives, Bengaluru South only saw 52.8% voter participation, North had 53.21%. Bengaluru Urban recorded 57.28% voter turnout, a slight decrease compared to the 2013 Assembly elections.
Old Mysuru Region: 66 seats
The southern region of the state is dominated by the Vokkaliga community and has seen a JD(S) vs Congress battle over the years, with the BJP coming a distant third. JD(S) banks on the Vokkaliga community as its top political leadership comes from the community, while Congress has dependent on the Ahinda (Dalits, Minorities and OBCs) vote bank.
In this region, the Congress paid a heavy price for personally targeting JD(S) supremos HD Kumaraswamy and HD Deve Gowda during the campaign and may have lost the Vokkaliga communityâ€™s votes as a result. The then incumbent Chief Minister Siddaramaiah lost in Chamundeshwari (a Lingayat stronghold) to GT Devegowda of JD(S) by a huge margin. JD(S) won a vast majority of its seats from this region, considered its political bastion. Its CM candidate HD Kumaraswamy won from both Channapatna and Ramanagara, and will have to resign from one. Congress heavyweight DK Shivakumar won from Kanakapura, while Yathindra, Siddaramaiahâ€™s son, won his debut election from Varuna.
Mumbai Karnataka Region: 44 seats
In this western region of Karnataka, which has a very limited JD(S) presence, the political ramifications of the Lingayat issue played a key role here in helping BJP gain a major chunk of seats. Congress had hoped that the Siddaramaiah governmentâ€™s move to accord religious minority status to Lingayats would help it swing the communityâ€™s votes, that make up 17% of the electorate in the state.
While Lingayat religious leaders had endorsed Congress, the common man saw it as a measure to divide the Hindu religion and consolidated against Congress. Three senior Congress ministers who had spearheaded the Lingayat movement lost in their constituencies, while Siddaramaiah just about managed to win in Badami by 1,696 votes. In 2013, BS Yeddyurappa (the tallest Lingayat leader in the state) had led a rebellion against BJP and it had cost the party dearly as votes had split. This time, his re-entry to the party and BJP projecting him as CM candidate also helped the party.
The Mahadayi water dispute between Karnataka and Goa was also a major political issue and the hope for a resolution with the BJP being in power in both states might have been a strong factor, despite silence on the same by top BJP leadership, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Coastal Karnataka: 19 seats
The regionâ€™s politics has been swayed by the Hindutva rhetoric, and the BJP gained from the rising religious extremism in the area. Its leadership, including the PM, emphasized on the alleged killings of its workers and minority appeasement to consolidate the Hindu vote and the party benefited heavily from the same.
Hyderabad Karnataka Region: 40 seats
Considered the least-developed region of the state, the area is dominated by Lingayats and SCs.
The BJP took a risk by giving seats to the Reddy brothers and their aides, who were all named in the Ballari mining scam, which brought down the government last time. However, the risk paid off, and two Reddy brothers and two aides won from their constituencies. B Sriramulu, who lost to Siddaramaiah in Badami, but won Molakalmuru, may well be named Deputy CM if the BJP can prove itself in the floor test tomorrow.
The Lingayat issue also played a huge role in benefitting the BJP in this region.
Meanwhile, the SC vote helped the Congress marginally, as Priyank Kharge, son of senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, won from Chittapur.
Central Karnataka: 27 seats
Yeddyurappa was a big factor in this region as his rebellion had drastically affected the BJP in 2013. He not only won from Shikaripura this time, but his projection as CM candidate also helped the party in other areas. Another senior BJP leader KS Eshwarappa won from Shivamogga. Issues like lack of drinking water, lack of industries and unemployment dominated the election campaigns in this region.