Karnataka assembly elections in a single phase on May 10, counting on May 13
- Devendra Ahirwar
- Mar 29, 2023
NEW DELHI: The Election Commission of India has announced the schedule for the assembly election of the southern state of Karnataka, which will be held in a single phase on May 10, while the counting of votes will be done three days later on May 13. The term of the 224-member Karnataka state assembly ends on May 24, 2023
Chief election commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar said during the press conference that the notification for the elections will be issued on April 13 and the last date for filing nomination papers will be April 20.
On the announcement of by-polls for the vacant seat of Wayanad, in the wake of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's disqualification from this Lok Sabha seat on March 23, CEC Kumar said that no decision has yet been taken as they would like to wait for Rahul Gandhi to explore judicial measures regarding his conviction by a court in Surat. Though he has been convicted, Mr Gandhi has been given 30 days to appeal against the sentence.
With this announcement coming a year ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the stage is set for a major showdown between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress to slug it out along with a significant impact from Janata Dal-Secular JD(S) led by former prime minister H D Deve Gowda and his son, former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy who has in the past emerged as the kingmaker due a hung verdict.
While the BJP is looking forward to retaining its only major southern hold, it is facing very high levels of anti-incumbency, having been accused of widespread corruption and allegations of extorting commission from contractors and vendors of government jobs and contracts. This has resulted in the present government being dubbed as a 40% commission government by the opposition parties.
To shore up its prospects the BJP has recently pooled in former chief minister B S Yediyurappa bringing him back from retirement to active electoral politics. Considering his clout among the Lingayat community the party has almost made him the election mascot to boost their image and winning prospects.
On the other hand, the incumbent chief minister Basavaraj Bommai has been forced to take a back seat although the party has tried to project that he is still a key part of the team leading the party into the polls. But the political analysts say that unhappy with Bommai's over handling of things, the party's central leadership will not give him any key responsibilities and he may be kept out of major decisions making in the state.
The Congress is quite upbeat and confident of a sizable victory riding on the charges of corruption by the incumbent government and also bolstered by recent the elevation of a Karnataka-based Kannadiga M Mallikarjun Kharge, as the party's national President. Kharage hails from Karnataka's Kalaburagi district. Kharge's son Priyank M. Kharge is the sitting MLA from Chittapur Assembly Constituency in Kalaburagi District of Karnataka for the second time.
Although there were accusations of factionalism from within the state leaders, Kharge has been able to manage the various groups very effectively. It is well-known that former CM, Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar are two groups with chief ministerial aspirants but the leadership has brokered peace between the two who collectively have a sizable base among the Vokkaliga community and Kuruba community which falls under the scheduled tribes' category. Both the leaders were seen working hand in hand during Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra and have refrained from commenting against each other.
Most political analysts that we spoke to are giving Congress the upper hand in this battle which will be a prestige win, however, most of them are also wary of Kumaraswamy as he has the potential to play spoilers if his party wins sizable setas.
Since there are concerns over the health of 89-year-old Deve Gowda who is the party president, he has taken a back seat Kumaraswamy is single-handedly managing the JD(S)' affairs with his ageing father taking the back seat, would steer the party in the May 10 Assembly polls.
Although the regional party which is branded as a purely 'family party' has been facing severe rifts within its ranks, it does enjoy the backing of the Vokkaliga community and certain segments from the rural belt.