Bengaluru, Apr 13: Speak elections in Karnataka and the conversation is incomplete until the caste factor is discussed. Caste plays a major factor in the Karnataka elections and the support of the Lingayats, Vokkaligas, OBCs, SC and STs becomes extremely crucial.
With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) falling short of the numbers in Karnataka, it was the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(S) which have come together to form the government. The government will be headed by H D Kumaraswamy, a Vokkaliga. Vokkaligas are considered to be the second most influential community in the state after the Lingayats.
The caste arithmetic for the Congress went completely wrong and the result was clear. The party ended up with just 78 seats when compared to its tally of 122 in 2013. It was clear that the party was unable to garner the crucial votes of the Lingayats and Vokkaligas, the two most dominant castes in Karnataka who form 17 and 12 to 15 per cent of the population of the state respectively.
The Lingayat card recommended by the Congress government in Karnataka is unlikely to work for the party in the Karnataka assembly elections says a new pre-poll survey by Lokniti-CSDS-ABP. The poll predicts a hung house, but says that the Congress would emerge as the single largest party.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress appear to be on an even footing in Karnataka. The Congress relies on the Dalit, Other Backward Class (OBC) and minority votes while the BJP has the backing of the Lingayats and Brahmins.
Bengaluru: Master stroke or self goal? These are the two questions that come to mind when one discusses the religious minority tag that Karnataka Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah recommended for the Lingayats.
The Karnataka Assembly elections are being watched with a great deal of interest. At the moment it appears to be a straight fight between the Congress and the BJP and the JD(S) will end up playing king maker.
Here is a short FAQ on the elections and what is in store ahead: