The Karnataka elections are a curtain raiser for the 2019 general elections in India.
Politics in this southern state has always been extremely complex. One example that stands out is the 2004 assembly term where the state saw three CM’s from all the three political parties! It was a perfect hung assembly where JD(S) was the ‘King’ maker as well as the ‘King’ breaker!
The power struggle in Karnataka has been like a game of musical chairs – the state has seen 22 CM’s in 14 Assemblies till date. No party has managed to retain the majority since 1978. Has congress performed exceptionally well this time around to achieve this elusive target? Sonia Gandhi has also broken her two-year long hiatus to campaign for this election!
Karnataka is convoluted in terms of its caste equations, influence of bordering states & water issues. Each of the six regions have a different voting pattern and party affiliation. In addition, the tripolar election makes it the most interesting election where even a 2% increase in vote share can be a game changer for any of the parties.
To arrive at the predictions, the model uses analytics on past elections voting data, social media analysis & 500+ interviews within the six regions in Karnataka.
BJP is fighting this election at the national level with most of its heavyweight leaders campaigning throughout the state. Congress meanwhile is focussing their energy on a mix of Rahul Gandhi campaign trails, showcasing the good work done by Siddaramaiah & attacking BJP for getting back the corrupt Yeddyurappa & Reddy brothers.
In the fight between BJP & Congress, Kumaraswamy may well turn out to be the dark horse. JD(S) have distanced themselves from pulling down the opposition & are focussing on projecting themselves as the best regional party to rule Karnataka. Kumaraswamy Anna is pleading with the people to give them a chance to come to power. Because of BJP split in 2013, JD(S) got a better spread of votes across the entire state. That has given them the opportunity to strengthen their organization at the grassroot level in the last 5 years. Hence, they are anticipating to get more than the 40 seats that they won last time.
At the ground level, the people (and farmers) do see Anna as an honest & genuine person. Though JD(S) may not be able to get majority, people do want to see if they can influence the outcome in a way where Anna can be part of a coalition and be their CM. There is a silent undercurrent in favour of JD(S). It is riding on the ‘Regional Party’ image and ‘better of the two national parties’ and the people may want to make ‘Good Person’ Kumaraswamy a ‘King’. In that sense JD(S) may get a bigger swing of votes in their favour. Another interesting aspect coming out of the interviews is that there is a tacit understanding between BJP & JD(S) in terms of putting up weaker candidates in some of the constituencies against each other. That way those constituencies will have a bipolar fight and eat up the Congress vote share. At least this is what some of the local BJP/RSS workers have mentioned.
In my opinion, it would be incorrect for pollsters to say that based on the 2014 Lok Sabha victory in Karnataka, BJP would get majority votes. If you compare the 2014 Lok Sabha BJP vote share & the vote share of BJP in state elections held post 2014 – BJP has lost vote share in 14 out of the 20 states. The loss of vote share is ~23%. If the seat tally is considered, the loss is ~30%. BJP getting majority may not be that easy. We may, in these elections see the impact of demonetization & GST.
As per my prediction, it will be a ‘HUNG’ assembly. BJP will emerge as the largest party (85 seats) followed closely by Congress (70 seats) & JD(S) (67 seats). If none of the parties get a majority, we may just about see BJP sneaking into power along with JD(S). They have mastered this art in the recent past!
We may just about get to see Kumaraswamy as the next Karnataka CM!
PREDICTION & VOTE SHARE AS BELOW
Let us see what the outcome is on May 15th!
You can reach me @ aneesh@insights3D.com if you have any queries on the prediction.