You might be wondering why am I particular about a party breaking a 20 seat mark in a state of 28 seats. Even at the height of political waves, Karnataka has voted against the national waves. When the country was simmering with anger against Indira Gandhi, Karnataka sided with Congress. Indira Gandhi’s political career was revived when she was sent to Lok Sabha from Karnataka after she lost her seat in UP. When the whole country voted for Congress after Indira Gandhi’s assassination, Karnataka gave a significant number of seats to Janata Dal. No single party has crossed this figure of 20 seats in Karnataka since 1989 general elections. Even when neighboring states like Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Goa all delivered landslide victories to one or the other party in last 3 decades, Karnataka has resisted giving even 2/3rd majority (in assembly elections) to any party in these years.
BJP came close when they won 19 seats in 2009 general elections (Yes! even in 2009, Karnataka resisted Congress wave). Though, this pattern of voting against national wave has made elections in the state very interesting it has also been subjected to step-motherly treatment by the center. Even Vajpayee ji, one of the great federal leaders could not do complete justice to Karnataka because of pressure from his allies in Tamil Nadu who were very critical for Government survival. Only from 2014 under Modi ji’s majority government has the state started to get its due. Hence it is important for the state to deliver a landslide victory for a single party to get its due share from the union government.
Things are actually looking up for BJP this time around. BJP won 17 seats in 2014 elections. The important thing is all the seats were won with a significant margin. The lowest margin of victory for a BJP candidate was 17,607 in Davanagere. All the incumbent candidates have been re-nominated who have worked satisfactorily and coupled with the huge popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at least 15 of these MPs are set to be re-elected. There were 3 seats in Karnataka which was lost by BJP to Congress by less than 10,000 seats. In these seats, the Congress MPs have not worked to the expectation level of the electorate. Also, the state government in its budget has treated non-JDS seats indifferently and that disappointment has angered the people in these constituencies. Hence these 3 constituencies may elect BJP taking the tally of BJP to 18.
JD(S) had won 2 seats in 2014, Hassan and Mandya. Mandya is very interesting because JD(S) won because of the divide of local (CS Puttaraju of JDS) versus non-local (Divya Spandana of INC). This time Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy has chosen this constituency for the political debut of his son Nikhil who is seen by the local leaders on the same lines they saw Ms. Divya Spandana, a parachuted leader. But the alliance with Congress should have made this a cake walk for Nikhil Kumaraswamy. But the candidature of Ms. Sumalatha, wife of recently deceased popular actor & former minister Ambareesh has made the election interesting. BJP has already supported her candidature and has not put any candidate in Mandya. Congress workers are also supporting her as fans of Late Ambareesh. Some JDS leaders who are disappointed with the dynastic politics of HD Devegowda has also supported Sumalatha’s candidature which may result in her surprise election.
It is already getting evident that HD Devegowda might have made a blunder by installing his grandson in Hassan and himself shifting to Tumkur. Though Hassan people still adore HD Devegowda, they see Prajwal Revanna as an inexperienced candidate who does not understand the issues and may not be fit to represent them in parliament. Add to this the candidature of A.Manju, who shifted to BJP from Congress is said to have the support of local Congress workers. Also, Congress strongman Siddaramiah is also in favor of defeating JDS in Hassan and Tumkur. Like in Hassan, even Tumkur Congress workers are disappointed as it is being usurped from sitting Congress MP Muddahanumegowda. Though he has now withdrawn his nomination as rebel Congress candidate, Congress party workers are expected to work against HD Devegowda’s election. Because of this, both Hassan and Tumkur may go to BJP candidates.
Hence with these 3 constituencies, BJP may actually cross 20 seats out of 28 seats in Karnataka which may result in more favorable treatment by central government whatever the election results overall in the country on May 23.