The lotus blooms in Karnataka: How the BJP changed the traditional vote bank formula
For the first time in the state, the BJP secured a 51.4% vote share, while the Congress scraped through with a negligible 31.9%.

May 23 was a day of historical significance for the BJP in Karnataka. The party accomplished what seemed like an unachievable feat just a couple of decades ago – the decimation of the Congress in Karnataka. It was a washout for the Congress-JD(S) alliance in Karnataka, as the BJP won 25 out of the 28 constituencies in the state. The results came as a massive embarrassment to the Congress, which had prided itself in reigning over Karnataka for decades at a time. The tables have turned and the status quo has been demolished.

For the first time in the state, the BJP secured a 51.4% vote share, while the Congress scraped through with a negligible 31.9%. Even a decade ago, the BJP in Karnataka could not have achieved such a monumental feat. So what changed in Karnataka in 2019?

The traditional Congress voters shifted to BJP

One of the reasons why the Modi wave swept Karnataka and demolished traditional vote banks is due to the pre-poll alliance the Congress forged with the sub-regional party – the JD(S).

The vote base of the Congress – comprising the OBC, minority and Dalits ended up voting for the BJP. One of the most shocking turn of events was the BJP’s victory in the Old Mysuru region, which was a fortress of the Congress and JD(S).

The Old Mysuru Congress strongholds comprised the Mysuru-Kodagu, Mandya, Hassan, Kolar, Chikkaballapura, Tumakuru and Chamarajanagar constituencies.

This time around, in Kolar and Chikkaballapura, two Congress heavyweights KH Muniyappa and Veerappa Moily conceded defeat to the BJP candidates. This was because the members of the Chalavadi community along with the Marasu Vokkaligas voted for the BJP. The situation was the same in Chamarajanagar, where the votes of the OBC community went to BJP’s V Srinivas Prasad.

In Mysuru, Tumakuru and Mandya regions, the Congress vote base, including a certain section of Vokkaligas and the members of the Kuruba community voted for the BJP. This sudden shift in vote base is purely because of the coalition, says political analyst Mahadev Prakash.

“See, the people belonging to backward communities and certain sub-sects of the Dalit community have been unhappy with the Congress. This is because the Vokkaligas were traditionally the community which oppressed and humiliated those belonging to backward castes. There is history of violence and humiliation perpetrated by Vokkaligas that the minorities and OBCs cannot forgive. They will never vote for the JD(S) or anyone who supports the JD(S) simply because it is a party of those belonging to the feudal class. The alliance was a big mistake,” he added.

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