Role of elections in consolidating democracy

If the BJP wins, it would have demonstrated the party’s unstoppable machine.

Ashish Ranjan is a research fellow at Trivedi Centre for Political Data, at Ashoka University.

In the 2008 election, Siddharamaiah tried to construct the same AHINDA coalition for the Congress party but did not succeed. He initiated many welfare schemes addressing the major concerns of this group.

In rural areas, there is the Anna Bhagya (7kg/person free rice), besides a variety of pension and welfare schemes.

Will outgoing chief minister Siddaramaiah’s carefully crafted caste and religious alliance – consisting of Dalits, backward castes and minorities, abbreviated in Kannada to AHINDA – once again bring the Congress back to power?

Or will the Deve Gowda-Kumaraswami-led JD(S), with support from the Vokkaliga (the second-largest community in Karnataka), be kingmaker in the state?

Lingayats are core voters for the BJP, the Congress enjoys major support from the Backward, Dalit and Muslim communities (AHINDA), and JD(S) gets heavy support among Vokkaligas.

Like the Lingayats, a majority of the Vokkaligas are based in the Old Mysore region, Central Karnataka and Bengaluru.

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In the 2008 election, when it won the state, the BJP only won eight of the 51 seats in this region, while in the 2014 parliamentary election, despite a huge wave in support, the BJP could only win seven Assembly seats in the Chamarajanagar, Hassan, Kolar, Mandya, Mysore, Tumkur districts that comprise this parliamentary region.

First, he is dividing all of us Lingayats between Veerashaiva and Lingayat, which is not good as we Lingayats are all one.

Second, his decision to provide eggs only to SC/ST students (an untrue claim) is promoting discrimination among children on caste basis. Welcome to the mother of all complicated elections in Karnataka.

In 2013 this number fell to 21 seats – remember that Lingayat leader B S Yeddyurappa had floated a new party, the KJP, which got around 10 per cent of the vote.

This caused the BJP to lose 13 per cent of the vote.

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