25 June, 2021

A Midsummer Poll’s Harvest

Resurgence for the BJP, introspection time for the Congress and a leap of fate for JD(S), Karnataka 2018 is an image of a still-developing electorate

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JD(S) leader Kumaraswamy after polls
Photograph by Getty Images
A Midsummer Poll’s Harvest

If you had taken an Ola or Uber taxi in Bangalore during campaigning, before the just-concluded elections in Karnataka, and asked the driver who would win, he could have said “Kumaranna”, even though, at that point in time, political observers could not have visualised that Janata Dal (Secular) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy had even the slimmest chance of winning. But then, at times, political pundits can completely miss the target while the hunches of voters can be spot on. As of this day, Kumaraswamy is in contention for the chief minister’s post. Whether he eventually gets it or not is a different matter, but the fact that he is there, eyeing the much-coveted chair, readying to slide into it, is the biggest surprise of the Karnataka election results have thrown; bigger than even the dismal showing of the Congress and the rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

It’s tempting, and perhaps even convenient, to attribute the results to caste factors as many analysts are wont to.  That the dominant Vokkaliga community in south Karnataka deserted the...

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