The BJP is facing a tough challenge in the Karnataka elections to be held on May 10
New Delhi: Polling to elect a new government and members to the 224-seat assembly in Karnataka will be held on May 10, the Election Commission announced on Wednesday. The results will be announced on May 13.
The announcement comes amid a political battle between the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress and Janata Dal-Secular Janata Dal (JD-S). The BJP, led by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bombay, hopes to retain power in the state, avoiding allegations of corruption and communal polarization. The election will test how popular Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party’s policies are at the national and state levels.
Addressing a press conference, Chief Election Commissioner Rajeev Kumar said the election was held on Wednesday instead of Monday or Friday to encourage greater voter participation and prevent people from leaving town for long vacations.
In May 2018, the assembly elections were held in Karnataka and there was a hung assembly. The BJP emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats, but fell short of a majority. The post-election alliance of the Congress and the JD(S) formed the government with Kumaraswamy as the Chief Minister by winning 80 and 37 seats respectively. However, in July 2019, the alliance collapsed after several MLAs resigned from their parties and joined the BJP. Subsequently, BJP formed the government with BS Yeddyurappa as the Chief Minister. He resigned in July 2021 and was replaced by Mr Toy. In the Karnataka Assembly, the ruling BJP currently has 121 MLAs, the Congress 70 and its ally JD(S) 30.
The BJP is trying to strengthen its support base among the dominant communities of Lingayats and Vokkalikas, who make up about 40 percent of the state’s population. The party has recently increased reservation in education and government jobs for this community, scrapping the 4 percent reservation for Muslims introduced by the previous Congress government.
On the other hand, the Congress has accused the BJP of indulging in communal politics and corruption. If the party comes to power, unemployed graduates will be given Rs 3,000 per month for two years. It is trying to woo the backward classes, minorities and Dalits who form a significant part of the electorate.
JDS party is acting as king maker in Karnataka politics. The party has maintained an even-handed stance from both the BJP and the Congress, keeping its options open for a post-poll alliance. The party also focuses on its core issues of farmers’ welfare and regional development