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Will Congress Win In Karnataka Have Any National Impact? This Is What Facts Show

Facts, data, past records and demography, concludes the argument that the Karnataka poll story was never a national story. 

Karnataka Elections 2023
| Written By
Abhishek Tiwari
Karnataka elections

Congress leaders celebrating the victory in Karnataka Assembly polls. (Image: Twitter/ @DKShivakumar)

Is Karnataka election result a preview of the national political mood ahead of the 2024 general elections? Will it replicate an impact on the next year's Lok Sabha elections? Are the claims that the Karnataka poll result is a sign for 2024, true? These are the questions, which are being vastly discussed in the political arena and conclusions are being drawn. Amid the Congress’ claim that the mood of the voters across the country is in their favour, let us go through some facts, data, past records and demography, which concludes the argument that the Karnataka poll story was never a national story. 

National politics differs from state politics in Karnataka

Lok Sabha Vs Karnataka Assembly
If we analyse the facts related to the Karnataka Assembly polls and its impact on the Lok Sabha polls, it shows that state assembly poll results had never impacted the results of the general elections. The data shows that, regardless of the state assembly results, the BJP has been consistently able to emerge as the single largest party in Karnataka constituencies in all Lok Sabha elections since 2004. As per data:

  • In 2004, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had managed to win 18 seats out of 28 parliamentary seats in Karnataka, even though the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) alliance was in power in the state. Total vote percentage of the Congress (35.27%) and the JD(S) (20.77%) collectively during the assembly elections was 56.04 percent, almost double the vote percentage of the BJP’s 28.33 percent. But the saffron party managed to win the maximum number of seats (18) during the Lok Sabha polls, which was conducted a month after the assembly elections. 
  • In 2009, the BJP had won 19 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka and again turned out to be the single largest party in the state, while the Congress had won 6 seats and the JD(S) managed to win 3 seats. The vote percentage of the BJP during the parliamentary elections was 41.93 percent as compared to the Congress’ 37.65 percent and the JD(S)’s 13.57 percent. Though the BJP was in power in the state with 110 seats, the vote percentage was slightly low for the party at 33.86 percent during assembly elections. Moreover, the vote percentage for the Congress (80 seats) was 34.76 percent and the JD(S) (28 seats) was 18.96 percent. 
  • The BJP again emerged as the single-largest party in Karnataka during the 2014 general elections with 17 Lok Sabha seats, while the Congress had 9 seats and the JD(S) 2 seats. The BJP again managed to increase its vote percentage to 43 percent, while the Congress’ vote percentage was 40.80 percent and the JD(S) was 11 percent. BJP’s performance came up, despite Congress’ government in the state. With 122 assembly seats, the Congress was voted to power in the state in 2013 assembly elections, while the BJP had only managed to win 40 seats. Additionally, during the assembly elections, the BJP’s vote percentage was only 19.91 percent, while the Congress’ was 36.6 percent and the JD(S)’s was 20.2 percent. 
  • In 2019 general elections, the BJP managed to register its biggest victory in the state, by securing a win on 25 seats out of 28 Lok Sabha seats. The BJP’s massive victory resulted in the Congress and the JD(S) winning only one seat each. Considering the vote percentage, the BJP managed to get 51.38 percent, which was way more than that of the Congress’ 31.88 percent and the JD(S)’s 9.67 percent. BJP’s sweeping performance during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections came up, despite the Congress and the JD(S) alliance being in power in the state. Moreover, the Congress had also managed to get the highest vote percentage in the state at 38.14 percent, during the 2018 Karnataka Assembly elections, while the BJP had only managed to get 36.35 percent vote share. 

Anti-incumbency, a periodic pattern in Karnataka
According to the political experts, the state of Karnataka has always witnessed a periodic pattern of anti-incumbency during the state assembly elections. This year too, the Congress’ win is being termed as a result of anti-incumbency against the BJP government in the state. 

Local leadership
The political experts claim that the credit for the massive victory of the Congress Party in Karnataka goes to the local leadership. This includes Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar and former-Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. The two leaders are being considered as the architects of the Congress' success in Karnataka. The work done by both the leaders is being hailed across the state and neither of them are national leaders of the Congress. 

Rahul Gandhi and Bharat Jodo Yatra
The Congress national leadership has started a campaign and is crediting the party’s Karnataka Assembly win to Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’. But, the fact is, Rahul Gandhi’s Yatra had merely covered 22 assembly constituencies out of 224-constituencies in Karnataka and only 7 Lok Sabha segments. Moreover, during the assembly elections this year, Rahul Gandhi had only taken part in a 12-day elections campaign in the state, which can’t be considered more important than the campaign efforts by DK Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah’s state-wide tour for over four months.  

Post-poll impact
According to the past records, no post-poll impact has been witnessed after Karnataka elections. Taking the last three assembly elections of Karnataka into account, the record shows that the win in Karnataka hadn’t impacted other states which are due to go for polls in 2023. In 2013, despite the Congress winning Karnataka, BJP managed to win Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh polls. On the other hand, in 2018, when BJP was the largest party in Karnataka, Congress won Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and the Chhattisgarh polls.

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