Karnataka election result - BJP crosses majority


Ajit Kumar AJIT KUMARWISDOM IAS, New Delhi.


After crossing majority, it is now clear that the BJP will form government in Karnataka. Polling was held on Saturday, May 12 , 2018 for 222 of Karnataka’s 224 assembly constituencies.

No party has retained power in Karnataka since 1985, when the then Janata Dal formed government under Ramakrishna Hegde for a second consecutive term. The Congress, which has ruled the state for the past five years hoped to change that statistic, but failed.

The campaign for Karnataka was high-pitched, with all parties pulling out their top guns. Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the BJP’s campaign with multiple election rallies as did Congress president Rahul Gandhi for his party.
Karnataka is the 13th victory for BJP against the Congress in the last 4 years since BJP formed government at the centre under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Karnataka is also the only where Congress was in power in southern India.
 

Key issues raised during campaign 
 
Lingayats and Veerashaivas:  On March 19, in a major political gamble, the Siddaramaiah government accepted the Justice H.N. Nagamohan Das committee’s recommendation to grant religious minority status to Lingayats and Veerashaiva-Lingayats (those who follow Basavanna) under Section 2(d) of the Karnataka State Minorities Commission Act. The state government will forward the recommendation to the Union government, seeking notification under Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992. The demand will now have to pass through a complex legal and political prism, and withstand massive social scrutiny before the Centre accepts it.

But, who are the Lingayats?
Traditionally, they are followers of social reformer Basavanna, who rejected the Vedas and other Hindu scriptures. Veerashaivas, on the other hand, are a Shaivite sect that follows Hindu rituals and the ideals of Basavanna (for more, see graphics). And, that is where the government’s decision gets problematic. While Veerashaivas want the minority status—they contend that both groups have always been treated the same and considered a single community—they want it without any riders. They do not want to be seen as only Basavanna followers. In fact, several Veerashaiva pontiffs and leaders have questioned the government’s “ploy to divide” the two groups.


Kannada identity: Kannada identity has also become a core issue with the Siddaramaiah government creating a separate flag for the State, giving prominence to the Kannada language and culture and the Chief Minister and his cabinet colleagues repeatedly speaking against Hindi imposition.

Murder of rationalists: While the BJP calls the murders of rationalists MM Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh and right-wing activists in the State as examples of "lawlessness" in the States, the Congress blames the former and its so-called divisive Hindutva politics for these killings. 

Water crisis: Karnataka is reeling under water crisis. It is at loggerheads with its neighbours over river water sharing, the significant one being Cauvery in the South and Mahadayi in the northern region. Both parties are keeping their cards close.

Corruption: Then there is the issue of corruption. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in one of the rallies called the Congress government "10 per cent commission sarkar". The Congress has mocked BJP asking what moral standing the party has to speak on corruption when their CM candidate has faced corruption charges.

Dalit reservation: The Karnataka government will seek a constitutional amendment to ensure 70% reservation for SC/ST and OBC communities in education and public sector services.

Farmers’ distress: Comments made by the prime minister at a rally in Bengaluru, marking the end of the BJP’s 90-day Nava Nirman Parivarthan Yatra in Karnataka, portrayed his government as farmer-friendly, stating agrarian issues were the top priority for them.

A total 3,515 farmers in Karnataka committed suicide between April 2013 and November 2017, out of which 2,525 were due to drought and farm failure.


Development: While Karnataka hasn’t outperformed the rest of the states in national rankings, it hasn’t scored poorly either. The Congress government’s mixed record perhaps explains why Siddaramaiah is banking on populist schemes such as Anna Bhagya (free rice), Cycle Bhagya, etc
 

Facts
Assembly seats (224: 173 general, 36 SC, 15 ST)
Total number of voters: 4.96 crore
Average number of voters in each constituency: 2.21 lakh
First-time voters: 15.42 lakh
Electorate in 18-19 age bracket: 7.6 lakh
 

Strengths of BJP

-rojecting Yeddyurappa as the chief ministerial candidate might stop infighting
-Despite Siddaramaiah’s effort to split the Lingayats, the community with a vote share of 15-17% is likely to support BJP led by Yeddyurappa, a fellow Lingayat
-Stronger cadre network than the Congress
-Appeal of Modi




Tuesday, 15th May 2018, 06:43:47 AM

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