Bengaluru/Mumbai: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which won 104 seats in the 2018 Karnataka assembly elections compared 40 in 2013, won 57% seats from coastal Karnataka and Malnad, and Bombay-Karnataka, an IndiaSpend analysis of data show.

In the 2013 elections, BJP had won only seven seats from the two regions.

The Congress won 21 of its 78 seats, or nearly 27% from the two regions. In 2013, the Congress won 48 seats out of its total tally of 122 seats from these regions.

The Janata Dal (Secular) consolidated its position in southern Karnataka by winning 65% of its 37 seats from the region, and it increased its tally by 8 seats compared to 2013.

Coastal Karnataka and Malnad see saffron surge

Districts [33 seats]: Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Uttara Kannda, Kodagu, Shimoga, and Chikmagalur

A saffron wave was evident in all 3 districts of coastal Karnataka--Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada -- where the BJP won 16 of 19 seats, according Election Commision of India data.

Similarly, in the southern Malnad region, including Shimoga and Chikmagalur, the BJP won 83% of seats, while the Congress managed only one in each region.

Coastal Karnataka and Malnad region provided BJP the highest increase in seats (21) compared to the other five regions.

Coastal Karnataka is communally-sensitive and a hot-bed for Hindutva politics.

BJP MP of Udupi-Chikkamagaluru Shobha Karandlaje accused the Congress of shielding the killers of 23 BJP/ RSS members, The Scroll reported on March 20, 2018.

BJP’s chief ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa won from Shikaripura in Shimoga with a margin of 35,397 votes.

The Congress, too, tried to appeal to voters on religious grounds, with party president Rahul Gandhi visiting temples, churches and dargahs (Muslim shrines), Business Standard reported on March 18, 2018. The move does not seem to have helped the party as its seat share fell 71% in 2018 compared to 2013.

Siddaramaiah’s Lingayat bid fails in Bombay-Karnataka

Districts (Seats 50): Belgaum, Hubbali Dharwad, Haveri, Gadag, Bagalkot, and Bijapur

The BJP won 31 out of 50 seats in Bombay-Karnataka, the same number of seats won by the the Congress in 2013.

These regions together - coastal Karnataka-Malnad and Bombay-Karnataka - have given the BJP nearly 57% seats in 2018.

The Congress seat share in Bombay-Karnataka fell nearly 50% from the last assembly elections while JD(S) managed to win an additional seat, taking its tally to two in 2018.

With a significant population of Lingayats, who constitute 16% of the state’s population, residing here, it would seem that former chief minister Siddaramaiah’s attempt to gain electoral favour from the community by providing minority status has failed.

In each of the six districts, majority of the votes have gone to the BJP, except Bijapur where 50% of the seats went to the Congress.

JD (S) leverages Vokkaliga appeal in Southern Karnataka

Districts (37 seats): Mandya, Mysore, Chamarajanagar, Ramanagaram, Hassan and Bengaluru Rural

JD(S) Increased Tally By 8 Seats While Congress Lost 53% Seats
Party 2018 2013 Change
BJP 4 0 4
INC 9 19 -10
JDS 23 + 1 (BSP) 16 8

Source: Election Commission of India

Out of the 37 seats JD(S) won in the 2018 assembly elections, the party secured 24, including one of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), from southern Karnataka, reinforcing its position in the region. It secured eight more seats compared to 2013.

Mandya has one of the highest rates of farm suicides in Karnataka, IndiaSpend reported in May 8, 2018. The sugar and paddy belt has witnessed farm indebtedness exacerbated by multiple droughts.

The Rs 8,165 crore farm loan waiver announced by the Congress has fallen short of expectations here in the Vokkaliga stronghold.

The Congress managed to secure only nine seats, 10 less than 2013.

In Mandya, the JD(S) won all seats including the one held by Congress since 2013. Although not as massive as coastal Karnataka, the BJP won four seats from three districts of Mysore, Chamrajnagar and Hassan. It had won no seat in the last assembly elections

Central Karnataka shifts towards BJP

Districts ( Seats 36): Chitradurga Davangere, Kolar, Chikkaballapur, and Tumkur

The central Karnataka region saw the BJP win 14 out of the 36 seats, an increase of 367% (11 seats) compared to the 2013 assembly elections.

BJP won 11 out of the 14 seats in Chitradurga and Davangere, nearly 79% of seats won from the region.

While the Congress also won the same number of seats (14), its seat share declined 26% from 2013.

Despite focus on development, Congress gains none in Hyderabad-Karnataka

Districts (Seats 40): Bidar, Gulbarga, Yadgir, Raichur, Koppal, and Bellary

Hyderabad-Karnataka includes districts like Yadgir and Raichur, which are among the least developed in India. The region was accorded special status after the constitutional amendment introduced by the United Progressive Alliance government in 2012, Livemint reported on Feb 21, 2018.

Despite allocating over Rs 4,500 crore in the last five years, the Congress has not been able to increase its seat share in the region.

Beside issues related to education and unemployment, it has also been affected by huge farm debt and farm suicides, IndiaSpend reported on May 8, 2018.

In Yadgir, Gulbarga, and Koppal, at least 50% of the votes went to BJP while JD (S) lost one seat compared to 2013.

No clear trend in Bengaluru (urban)

Seats 28 including Rajarajeshwarinagar and Jayanagar

* Two seats in Rajrajeshwarinagar and Jayanagar not included
Source: Election Commission of India

In Bengaluru (urban), votes have not changed dramatically. The Congress gained one seat, while the JD(S) lost one.

Over the last five years under the Congress, civic issues including pollution of lakes, infrastructure, and water availability have become serious concerns.

Despite a slew of problems, the Congress managed to better its position compared to the last elections.

The Rajrajeshwarinagar and Jayanagar pollings were postponed due to seizure of voter cards and the death of the BJP candidate, respectively.

So, who will form the government?

The Congress-JD (S) together and the BJP have staked claims to form the government in Karnataka.

The Congress won 44 fewer seats seats in 2018 than in 2013, while BJP gained 64 seats. The BJP won 36.2% votes – its highest-ever since the party first contested state elections in 1983, IndiaSpend reported on May 15, 2018

Despite the 7.5% drop in seat share for the JD (S), the “unconditional support” of the Congress may allow H.D. Kumaraswamy to become the chief minister of Karnataka for the second time.

Manpreet Singh and Sravan Pallapothu provided inputs for the story

(Paliath is an analyst at IndiaSpend. Singh and Pallapothu are interns at IndiaSpend.)

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