Tomorrow is a big day for Karnataka and by the end of the day, the state will have a new government in place. The counting process which will commence at 8 AM tomorrow is going to be keenly watched and the fate of 2940 candidates will be at stake.
Counting will take place in 36 centres across the states and the fate of candidates from 223 constituencies will be decided. The elections at the Periyapatana assembly constituency was countermanded after the death of a candidate.
What is at stake?
The Congress hopes to make a killing this time and is confident that it would form the government on its own. It would not mind falling a bit short of the magic number of 112 and rely on the independents. However it would not want to enter into a coalition with any of the parties as it would be in no position to decide on its leader or even the rest of the Cabinet.
In the Congress a lot is at stake for Siddaramaiah who considers it his last chance to become Chief Minister. It is a do or die situation for him and in case he is not made the Chief Minister there is a good chance of him revolting. Siddaramaiah for one would hope that they would not need to depend on the JD(S) to form the government. In case of a tie up with the JD(S) then it is curtains for Siddaramaiah as the Gowda clan will not even let him be part of the Cabinet.
In the case of G Parameshwar, the Congress chief, the case is similar. He would like to ride on the success as the Congress chief and stake a claim to become CM. However he would first need to retain his Koratagere seat. This is also his last chance at becoming Chief Minister and a lot would depend on the results tomorrow.
The ruling BJP government would hope that it can pull off some magic. It has been hoping that the people would forget about the B S Yeddyurappa rule for the first three years. Although things look very difficult for the BJP, it would hope for a turn over. The BJP does realise that the going is tough and in case it loses the elections it would have a lot of introspection to do. For instance patch things up with Yeddyurappa and focus heavily on the next elections.
In the BJP the fate of some key leaders would be at stake tomorrow. K S Eshwarappa who acted like a crusader against B S Yeddyurappa’s alleged corrupt stint faces a tough challenger in Shimoga. A loss over there would mean a tough time ahead for him. He will need to explain his tirade against Yeddyurappa and a loss would only mean that he is unable to win the seat without the support of BSY. There is a good chance of him being sidelined in case he does not win the seat.
The fate of Suresh Kumar will also be keenly watched. Considered to be a very honest man, Suresh Kumar is up against Shobha Karandlage, the blue eyed lady of B S Yeddyurappa. If Suresh Kumar does manage to win, he would secure his position in the top rung of the party. However a loss would only mean that there is no going past the power of Yeddyurappa.
Although a win by Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar is certain at his Hubli-Dharwad central constituency, it would be interesting to see how many Lingayat votes he will be able to garner from North Karnataka. Yeddyurappa who has proclaimed himself as the sole Lingayat leader is trying to eat into that vote bank. The manner in which the Lingayat votes would determine who is the bigger Lingayat leader in Karnataka.
B S Yeddyurappa on the other hand faces a unique battle. Getting over 10 seats would mean that he stays in contention in the Karnataka political scenario. Although his sole intention is to defeat the BJP and this election has been more about revenge, it would still be important for him to do well. Even if he needs to strike peace with the BJP in the near future, he will have to do well for himself. More importantly the damage he causes the BJP is will be more important for his political future as he need to give his former party the feeling that they cannot do without him.
The Janatha Dal (S) is trying to improve upon its position. It is hoping that it gets over 50 seats. It would hope that the Congress falls short of a majority so that it could have a say in the Government formation process. The JD(S) has plenty at stake and would like to have some power at least. In case it is not a part of the government formation process then it would be sitting out of power for 10 years in a row and this is not good for the party. There is a good chance of several members leaving the party and going with the Congress or the BJP which have a better chance of forming a government in Karnataka.
The BSR Congress which is headed by Sriramulu from Bellary will hope to retain some seats in Bellary district at least. At the moment it appears as though the BSR Congress will retain only the Bellary rural constituency and that is because the seat is being contested by Sriramulu. It would need a minimum of 5 seats at least from Bellary for it to stay in contention failing which it will be curtains for the party and its leader would have no choice but to return to the BJP or seek shelter with the Congress.
BJP- 110, Congress- 80, JD(S)- 28. The BJP ended up forming the government with the support of 5 independent candidates who were all given Cabinet berths.