As campaign ends today, what you need to know about Karnataka assembly elections 2023

DailyBiteMay 08, 2023 | 15:40

As campaign ends today, what you need to know about Karnataka assembly elections 2023

In the past few weeks, political parties have used all tricks of the trade to woo the voters of the southern state. (Photos: PTI)

The poll campaigning in Karnataka ends today (May 8) as voting in the 224 assembly seats is set to take place on May 10. A party needs to win at least 113 seats to form the government in the state.

Of the total of 224 seats in the Karnataka assembly, 36 are reserved for Scheduled Castes and 15 for Scheduled Tribes. Currently, the BJP has 119 MLAs, the Congress 75, and the Janata Dal Secular (JDS) has 28 legeslative representatives.


As the high-voltage campaigning for Karnataka elections comes to an end, in the past few weeks, political parties have used all tricks of the trade to woo the voters of the southern state. The state has three parties pitching their claim to form the government - BJP, Congress and the JDS.

PM Modi leading the charge for BJP

Karnataka is the only southern state that has been a stronghold of the BJP. And to keep the state in BJP's control, the entire top brass of the party was seen campaigning, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi leading the charge.

The campaign rested squarely on the shoulders of PM Modi, who took part in 18 rallies and 6 roadshows so far. The PM used the slogan, Ee Baariya nirdhara, Bahumatada BJP Sarkara (This time decision:Majority BJP government).

Prime Minister Narendra Modi campaigning for BJP in Karnataka. Photo: PTI

PM Modi and Amit Shah have been asking the people to vote for the BJP based on schemes of the central government.

The BJP has been putting a lot of effort to stay in power despite knowing that it is in power because the state also has a history of throwing fractured mandates. This happened  in 2004, and in 2018, when the third party, (JDS), comes into picture. And BJP knows that JDS can play a big role in the formation of the government this time too.


For the BJP, the campaigners list was long, and it included UP CM Yogi Adityanath, Goa CM Pramod Sawant, MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma, Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman, S Jaishankar, Smriti Irani and Nitin Gadkari. 

Rahul Gandhi leading for the Congress

Against BJP is the risk of anti-incumbency, which can be cashed in by the main opposition party in the state, the Congress. Former party President Rahul Gandhi has campaigned extensively alongside Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge in Karnataka.

Knowing the importance of Karnataka elections, even former AICC President Sonia Gandhi came out on one occasion to garner votes for the party.

The Congress is banking on the Bharat Jodo Yatra which Rahul held walking miles from Kanyakumari to Kashmir from September 7, 2022 to January 2023.

The party is in a strong position in Karnataka against the BJP, unlike in Gujarat where it was a one-party affair.

Rahul Gandhi leading a roadshow in Karnataka. Photo: PTI

Former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah and former Energy Minister DK Shivakumar have also been campaigning for the party in full swing. The two are top contenders for the post of CM if the Congress wins. However, the two didn’t let their differences crop up during the campaign, and Shivakumar released a video on Twitter where the two could be seen talking on non-political affairs.


Will JDS be the King or the Kingmaker? 

Former PM HD Dewe Gowda’s can play a crucial role in the formation of government in Karnataka. Being a regional party, JDS has considerable influence in the state, and in 2018 it won 37 out of 40 seats it contested.

Kumarawswamy oversaw a coalition government formed after an alliance between the JDS and Congress (2018-2019) for first time since 2004. However, the government was short-lived and it fell after 14 months as the coalition lost majority in the assembly after 15 MLAs resigned.

Former Karnataka CM HD Kumaraswamy. Photo: Facebook

Moreover, the tenure of Kumaraswamy as a coalition CM was problematic for the JDS leader as there were frequent infighting between the two parties. At one point, Kumaraswamy even shed a tear, expressing his inability to run the government because of the constant hurdles being thrown his way.

JDS, with an aim of forming the government, has fielded 148 candidates in the 224-member assembly. And it wants to be the King and not the Kingmaker in Karnataka.

The counting of the votes will take place on May 13.

Last updated: May 08, 2023 | 15:40
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