(Chinmay K and Aamod Hedge provide us the district wise seat prediction for the upcoming Karnataka Polls)

1.Winds of Change in Bagalkot


Bagalkot district in the region of Mumbai-Karnataka which has been a BJP fortress since last decade is seeing winds of change this time around.The district has a total of 7 Assembly constituencies and one Parliamentary seat.BJP which swept this district in 2008 further consolidated its presence riding on the back of the Lingayat consolidation and charisma of Yeddyurappa.But this time tables seem to have turned against BJP which significantly also won the lone Parliamentary seat in this district in 2009.

Lingayats of various denominations constitute the single largest chunk in Bagalkot district at 29% which means nearly every fourth voter is a Lingayat. They are followed by Dalit’s at 12.8% of the population and Kurubas at 12%.Weaver community is strong in Terdal and to some extent in Mudhol. Reddy’s,Muslims,upper castes and other backward castes are sprinkled across the district. Bagalkot is a largely rural district. Lingayats who are in the dominant position at rural level largely form the nucleus around which numerically weaker castes revolve.This arrangement is likely to break this time around. Ministers Govind Karjol and Murugesh Nirani have held sway over the district politics since last 5 years.

Vote share of various parties in 2008 Assembly elections

BJP

Congress

JDS

47.34%

39.56%

6.70%

    Vote share of major parties in 2009 LokSabha elections

    BJP

Congress

JDS

48.06%

43.94%

-

The arrival of KJP launched by former Chief MinsiterYeddyurappa could be the game changer in this election.Although MurugeshNirani is very close to Yeddyurappa he is contesting on BJP ticket and not from KJP mainly due to the fear of losing his seniority among the Panchmansalisub-caste of Lingayats.KJP performed below par in the recent ULB polls largely due to the lack of adequate organizational base in the district.BSY’s support base which is mostly rural in nature may also be a cause in the rout of KJP in ULB polls

    Performance of major parties in 2013 ULB polls

BJP

Congress

JDS

KJP

96

121

18

4

 

There have been significant developments in the district politics since ULB polls and Congress seems to be gaining thanks to the split in BJP’s traditional vote bank.There is significant anti-incumbency sentiment against BJP in the constituencies of Mudhol,Jamkhandi and Badami.Congress has clearly consolidates it’s vote-bank of Kuruba’s,Dalit’s,Muslims.The indications from ground are that Lingayats are likely to vote according to constituency level situation atleast in Badami,Mudhol,Jamkhandi which is likely to benefit Congress.KJP is set to severely affect BJP prospects in atleast 3 segments this time.JDS is unlikely to make any gains and would mostly be a bit player as usual.KJP is mostly banking on the support of a section of loyal rural vote and charisma of Yeddyurappa to open its account

Seat projections for 2013 Assembly elections

BJP

Congress JDS KJP

2

3 0 1

 

  • BJP seat share is set for heavy decline with whopping loss of 5 seats compared to last time.Situation is favorable for BJP only in Bagalkot and Bilgi
  • Congress set to win 3 seats compared to 0 in 2008.
  • Congress clearly in lead in Mudhol,Badami and slightly ahead in Jamkhandi inspite of rebel factor.
  • KJP heavily damaging BJP in atleast 3 segments and might open account but candidates weak profile a draw back.
  • Electoral scene still fluid in Terdal.

     

2.Belgaum- Battle for Karnataka’s 2nd capital


Belgaum is the second most populous district after Bangalore. The district has 18 assembly constituencies and 2 Lok Sabha constituencies, Belgaum and Chikkodi. Kittur and Khanapur assembly constituencies are part of the Canara Lok Sabha constituency. Due to the sheer size of the district, the party that wins here will naturally have an upper hand.

The BJP had won 11 assembly seats in total after Umesh Katti and Balachandra Jarkiholi had quit JD(S) and won on BJP tickets. The district politics is dominated by sugar barons. The anti-Kannada Maharashtra Ekikaran Samithi has its base in the district and might make a comeback in this election. The Congress is all set to destroy this BJP bastion.

Performance of political parties in 2013 ULB polls:

Total Seats

Congress

BJP

JD(S)

KJP

BSRCP

Independents

392

59

104

6

2

0

221

Even though the BJP has a lead over the Congress in the ULB polls, the presence of large number of independents indicates personal popularity of candidates plays an important role in the assembly polls than their party affiliations.

Vote share of major parties in 2008 assembly elections:

BJP

Congress

JD(S)

34.8%

33.6%

16.3%

  • Nippani constituency- There is a direct fight between 3-time MLA Kakasaheb Patil of the Congress and Shashikala Jolle of the BJP. Kakasaheb is in good terms with the dominant Maratha spesking community.
  • Chikkodi constituency- There is a direct fight between Prakash Hukkeri of the Congress and Nagesh Kiwad of the BSP. Prakash Hukkeri is clearly in a better position although certain sections of the district BJP is expected to support Kiwad.
  • Athani constituency- There is a triangular fight among Laxman Savadi of the BJP, Mahesh Iranagouda of the Congress and Sadashiv Butali of the JD(S). Victory depends on the extent of Lingayat vote Mahesh snatches from Laxman Savadi.
  • Kagawad constituency- Even though there is a triangular fight among Raju Kage of the BJP, Kirankumar Patil of the Congress and Shrimant Patil of the JD(S), Raju Kage is clearly ahead in the campaign and is in a comfortable position.
  • Kudachi constituency(SC)- There is a direct fight between Congress’ 4-time MLA Bhima Ghatage and P Rajeev of the BSR Congress party. Rajeev had contested as an independent in 2008 polls and has worked hard in the constituency for the last 5 years.
  • Raybagh constituency(SC)- There is a direct fight between Duryodhan Aihole of the BJP and independent candidate Pradeep Malagi. The road ahead looks difficult for Aihole as the influential VL Patil family has extended its support to Pradeep Malagi.
  • Hukkeri constituency- There is no opposition for Umesh Katti. Except 2004, he has won this assembly seat continuously from 1985 from different parties.
  • Arabhavi constituency- Balachandra Jarkiholi is sitting pretty as the Congress and the JD(S) haven’t put up a strong candidate. Balachandra Jarkiholi exercises enormous influence in this assembly constituency.
  • Gokak constituency- There is a direct fight between Ramesh Jarkiholi of the Congress and Ashok Pujari of the JD(S). Jarkiholi family’s hold over this constituency and their sugar factories will play a major role in influencing voters.
  • Yemkanamardi constituency(ST)- Satish Jarkiholi faces no serious opposition in this constituency. There is a feeling that Satish Jarkiholi will hold an important portfolio if Congress comes to power as he is very close to Siddaramaiah. Hukkeri MLA Umesh Katti and Chikkodi MP Ramesh Katti are behind Maruti Astagi’s candidature.
  • Belgaum North constituency- There is no serious opposition to Congress’ Feroz Sait. This constituency was MES’ fortress. Lingayats and Muslims are numerically dominant. BJP and MES have fielded Kiran Jadhav and Renu Killekar respectively and they are not likely to make any serious impact.
  • Belgaum South constituency- There is a triangular fight among Abhay Patil of the BJP, Anil Potdar of the Congress and Sambhaji Patil of the MES. If language doesn’t become an election issue, Abhay Patil is likely to retain his seat.
  • Belgaum Rural constituency- There is a triangular contest among Sanjay Patil of the BJP, Lakshmi Hebbalkar of the Congress and Manohar Kinekar of the MES. Anandswamy Gaddadevarmath is contesting as a Congress rebel. MES is facing a rebel in the form of Shivaji Suntakar.
  • Khanapur constituency- MES is hoping to win this assembly seat. Baburao Desai of the KJP is sure to take away a percentage of the BJP vote from current MLA Prahlad Remani. Rafique Khanapuri of the Congress has the support of RV Deshpande of the neighbouring Haliyal constituency. Congress ticket aspirant Anjali Nimbalkar is contesting as an independent.
  • Kittur constituency- There is a direct fight between sitting BJP MLA Suresh Marihal and DB Inamdar of the Congress. Film personalities are campaigning in favour of film producer Anand Appugol who is contesting on a JD(S) ticket.
  • Bailahongal constituency- There is a 4-way fight among Jagdish Metgud of the BJP, Basavaraj Koujalgi of the Congress, Shankar Madalagi of the JD(S) and Dr. Vishwanatha Patil of the KJP.
  • Saundatti Yellamma constituency- There is a direct fight between cousin brothers, Anand Mamani of the BJP and Vishwanath Mamani of the KJP. Congress candidate Ravindra Yaligar is facing a rebel candidate in the form of Anandkumar Chopra.
  • Ramdurg constituency- There is a triangular fight among current MLA Ashok Pattan of the Congress, Mahadevappa Yadwad of the BJP and Parappagouda Patil of the JD(S). Aravind Dalawai recently quit JD(S) and is contesting on a JD(U) ticket.

Seat projections for 2013 assembly polls:

BJP

Congress

JD(S)

KJP

BSRCP

MES

Independent

6

9

0

0

1

1

1

BJP is sure to give up its lead position to the Congress in this very important district.

3.Kodagu- Electoral battle in the Coffee-land



Kodagu, the least populous district in Karnataka, is in the Western Ghat region of Karnataka. The district has only 2 assembly constituencies, Madikeri and Virajpet, and is a part of the Mysore Lok Sabha constituency. In 2008, BJP had won both the assembly seats in the district, Appachu Ranjan from Madikeri and KG Bopaiah from Virajpet. Ex-Chief Minister R Gundu Rao was elected from the Somwarpet assembly constituency in 1972 and 1978. KG Bopaiah, a two-time MLA and current Speaker of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly, represents the Virajpet assembly constituency. Appachu Ranjan, a three-time MLA currently representing the Madikeri assembly seat, is the Minister for Sports and Youth Services in the present BJP government.

Kodagu is chiefly populated by native ethnic group Kodavas. Kodava Heggades, Kodava Gowdas and Muslims are also numerically strong. Apart from these major groups, there are many minor tribal groups that inhabit the region. All the 3 major parties, BJP, Congress and JD(S) are strong in the district.

Performance of political parties in 2013 ULB polls:

Total Seats

Congress

BJP

JD(S)

KJP

BSRCP

Independents

40

8

19

11

0

0

2

Only about 14% of the population stay in district’s urban centres. That is one of the reasons why the ULB poll results are not very reliable for predicting the direction in which the political wind is blowing in the district.

Vote share of major parties in 2008 assembly elections:

BJP

Congress

JD(S)

44.5%

35.7%

15.8%

Much has changed in the district since BA Jeevijaya quit Congress to join the JD(S). There is strong anti-incumbency against both the BJP legislators.

  • Madikeri constituency- There is a direct fight between Appachu Ranjan of the BJP and BA Jeevijaya of the JD(S). Jeevijaya is the undispusted Vokkaliga leader in the district and JD(S) has a strong organizational support. If KM Lokesh of the Congress takes away significant portion of the Vokkaliga and Muslim vote from Jeevijaya, Appachu Ranjan has a chance.
  • Virajpet constituency- There is a direct fight between KG Bopaiah of the BJP and BT Pradeep of the Congress. There is a strong anti-incumbency against KG Bopaiah. BT Pradeep is a first time contestant and the current DCC president.

Seat projections for 2013 assembly polls:

BJP

Congress

JD(S)

KJP

BSRCP

0

1

1

0

0

Even though the BJP and its affiliate organisations are strong in the district, BJP candidates face strong anti-incumbency and corruption charges. The Kodagu unit of BJP Yuva Morcha has also expressed displeasure over Appachu Ranjan’s candidature. Congress and JD(S) stand to gain in the district.

 

4.Divided verdict in Uttara Kannada



Uttara Kannada district in the Malnad region of Karnataka has always been a Congress fortress. The district has a total of 6 assembly constituencies and the Canara Lok Sabha constituency consists of Kittur & Khanapur of Belgaum district in addition to these 6. Deep fissures in the district Congress help the BJP and JDS. The district had become a Janata Dal bastion for a brief period during Ramakrishna Hegde’s rule who hailed from the district. In 2008, BJP had won 3, JD(S) 2 and Congress 1. Considering the organization on the ground, Congress was expected to win 5 out of 6 seats in the present polls. But the fact that Congress has squandered its chances due to errors in ticket distribution has become very evident in the district.

Havyaka Brahmin, Ediga and Konkan Maratha are the 3 major communities in the district. Muslims are numerically strong in certain pockets. RV Deshpande has been the District in-charge Minister for more than a decade first from Janata Dal then from the Congress. Differences between him and senior leader Margaret Alva have helped the BJP and JDS in assembly and parliamentary elections despite Congress having a strong presence in the local bodies.

Performance of political parties in 2013 ULB polls:

Total Seats

Congress

BJP

JD(S)

KJP

BSRCP

Independents

239

107

50

41

1

3

37

Congress gained 11.3% seats while the BJP lost 6.28% of the seats. Different camps in the Congress put up a united fight and hence the strong showing in the ULB polls. Much has changed since the ULB polls and the fault lines in the Congress party became more visible during the ticket distribution for the assembly polls. There are 2 warring camps in the BJP too, one belonging to MP Anantkumar Hegde and the other to Education Minister Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri.

Vote share of major parties in 2008 assembly elections:

BJP

Congress

JD(S)

35.2%

34.5%

15.8%

Much has changed since the 2008 polls. There is a localized anti-incumbency wave in all the constituencies. Shashibushan Hegde and Shivanand Naik have quit BJP to join JD(S) and KJP respectively. Gayatri Gowda has quit Congress to join KJP. Apart from all these factors, the fissures in the BJP and Congress come to the fore during the election season.

  • Sirsi-Siddapur constituency- There is a two way fight between Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri of the BJP and Shashibushan Hegde of the JD(S). Congress will be pushed to the third place due to wrong candidate selection.
  • Yellapur-Mundgod constituency- The fight is triangular among VS Patil of the BJP, Shivram Hebbar of the Congress and D Anilkumar of the JD(S). There are better chances for the Congress and the JD(S) as there is a strong anti-incumbency wave against sitting MLA VS Patil of the BJP.
  • Bhatkal-Honnavar constituency- The fight is mostly triangular among JD Naik of the Congress, Shivanand Naik of the KJP and Inayatullah Shabandri of the JD(S). Congress, BJP, KJP have fielded candidates from the dominant Ediga community. Division of Ediga votes might help the only Muslim candidate Shabandri in the fray.
  • Kumta-Honnavar constituency- Fight is quadrangular among Dinakar Shetty of the JD(S), Sharada Shetty of the Congress, Gayatri Gowda of the KJP and Suraj Naik of the BJP. BJP is in a weak position after Shashibushan Hegde quit BJP to contest from Sirsi on a JD(S) ticket.
  • Haliyal constituency- There is a direct fight between Sunil Hegde of the JD(S) and RV Deshpande of the Congress. JD(S) received a drubbing in the ULB polls and Congress is poised to win back the constituency this time.
  • Karwar-Ankola constituency- Direct fight between Anand Asnotikar of the BJP and Satish Sail. Satish Sail is contesting as an independent as he failed to get the Congress ticket.

Seat projections for 2013 assembly polls:

BJP

Congress

JD(S)

KJP

Independent

0

2

2

1

1

Verdict will remain divided. BJP is facing a complete washout. Congress will fail to convert its strong presence on the ground into more seats. JD(S) and KJP stand

5.Status Quo in Hassan

Hassan which is a predominantly rural district is located in old Mysore region.It is a part of the Vokkalinga heartland and has been a fortress of Janata Dal Secular.The party holds complete sway over the district. Vokkalingas control the district politics due to their dominant numerical position and influence almost every sphere of life.Due to their dominant position in caste and economic calculus at village level the marginally social groups like backward castes tend to go with them.Janata Dal Secular has made deep inroads at the rural level thanks to its image of a pro-farmer outfit.The District has 7 Assembly constituencies of Sakhleshpur, Holenarasipur, Arkalgud, Belur, Hassan, Shravanabelagola,Arsikere.

Vokkalingas at 38% of the total population are the most dominant group followed by Lingayats at 16% of the population who constitute the second largest group.Dalits at 11% are the third largest group.Muslims,Backward castes and Scheduled Tribes are the other communities present in the district.JDS won 5 out the 7 seats in 2008 Assembly elections and further consolidated its presence by winning the Hassan Parliamentary seat represented in Parliamnet by JDS supremo and former PM Deve Gowda.His elder son Revanna represents the Holenarasipur constituency. The district is the power base of the Gowda Family which is credited with implementing several welfare and development works in the district over the last decade.Although Revanna’s hold over the district politics is complete of late there has been some discontent over his unilateral style of functioning among the cadre.But this is unlikely to affect the prospects of JDS severely due to the social realities and caste alignments of the district.Only Congress is in a position to some how challenge JDS due to its strong base among the Dalits,Muslims and Backward castes.BJP under Yeddyurappa made a determined bid to consolidate the 16% Lingayat vote and make it a formidable one by adding in the plus vote.But post split of BJP the party has lost whatever little presence it had in the district.Interestingly Congress lost a massive 12% vote to JDS in 2009 elections thanks to the presence of heavyweight Deve Gowda.

Performance of Various Parties in 2008 Assembly elections(in terms of vote share)

JDS

Congress

BJP

43.67%

32.81%

16.04%

Vote share of various parties in 2009 Lok Sabha elections

JDS

Congress

BJP

50.64%

20.52%

20.94%

Performance of various parties in 2013 ULB polls

JDS

Congress

BJP

KJP

90

55

3

11

  • JDS has over the last 3 years consolidated its presence further in the district.The party continues to be very popular an indication of which was the intensive lobbying for the party ticket till lat minute.
  • This time around the competition is mostly between JDS and Congress with KJP playing a spoiler.BJP is no where in picture having lost its little base to KJP and to some extent the Congress.
  • Although sitting MLA of the JDS C.S.Putte Gowda quit and is contesting on Congress ticket in Shravanabelagola it is unlikely to benefit Congress due to the strong rebellion in party cadre over the crossover.
  • JDS is sitting pretty in Holenarasipur where H.D.Revanna is expected to sail smoothly and in Hassan, Sankhleshpur.
  • The Congress is likely to retain Belur.
  • JDS is likely to win Arkalgud due to anti incumbency against sitting Congress MLA Manju
  • JDS is likely to scrape through in Arsikere where KJP candidate is taking away a substantial chunk of vote from both Congress and BJP .
  • Lingayat vote which has all but deserted BJP is likely to be split between Congress and KJP with edge for Congress only in Hassan
  • KJP and Prajapragati Ranga which have formed alliance and are contesting together are unlikely to have a major impact except in Arsikere and Arkalgud          Seat Projections for 2013

JDS

CONGRESS

BJP

KJP

6

1

0

0

(Image Courtesy – Tulunadu News)

 

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