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3 factors that will be in play in upcoming Karnataka polls | Bengaluru News

BENGALURU: Assembly elections in Karnataka are set to throw up a fascinating contest, what with BJP hoping to consolidate its position at the helm by returning to government — a feat never achieved by any party — and Congress determined to cash in on anti-incumbency and make a comeback.
Meanwhile, JD(S), the third major party, is quietly waiting in the wings, certain that it will emerge kingmaker as it did in the previous elections.
As election year dawns and parties intensify campaigns to attract voters, TOI looks at three major factors that are likely to play a significant role in the outcome.
Social engineering
All three major parties are attempting to create what they believe is a perfect community combination to see them through. Strangely, there is still no clarity yet on just what this combination should be. BJP, for instance, is hoping to cash in on its decision to enhance reservation for SCs and STs besides the creation of new quota categories for dominant castes such as Lingayats and Vokkaligas.
Congress, with Mallikarjuna Kharge and DK Shivakumar at the helm of the national and state units respectively, is also hoping to secure the support of SCs, STs besides Vokkaligas. While the SC, ST vote is expected to be split evenly between Congress and BJP, the Vokkaliga vote is expected to be split evenly between JD(S), Congress, and BJP. Congress is confident that it willget en masse support of Kurubas and Muslims, while BJP is hoping the Lingayat community will continue to support it after Basavaraj Bommai took over from BS Yediyurappa.
Elections in Karnataka have traditionally been a three-horse race, but this time Congress is divided into various factions and sub-factions. Siddaramaiah, Legislature Party Leader, and Shivakumar lead prominent factions. As national president, Kharge is expected to play a key role here. Due to infighting, the party is yet to declare a CM candidate, which could be both advantageous and detrimental. The silver lining for Congress is that BJP, its main rival, is steering a similar boat. Ever since party strongman Yediyurappa resigned, BJP has also been riven by factionalism, although the issue within the saffron party unit has been more subtle. JD(S), which has been facing desertion, has managed some damage control.
No incumbent party has returned to the helm in Karnataka in the past two decades. After nearly four years of rule, BJP is facing massive anti-incumbency and it will play a significant role in the outcome. Congress has formulated a campaign to ride the anti-BJP sentiment by highlighting issues such as corruption, unemployment, and unresolved water disputes among others. But what seems to reduce the impact of anti-incumbency is BJP’s sterling performance in UP and Gujarat assembly elections where it managed to beat anti-incumbency.



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