Karnataka’s Voter Turnout Offers Clues On Who’s Ahead In Key Seats
In the seats where Deve Gowda, Yeddyurappa’s son, Deve Gowda and his grandson are contesting, big increase in voter turnout has been reported. 
In the seats where Deve Gowda, Yeddyurappa’s son, Deve Gowda and his grandson are contesting, big increase in voter turnout has been reported. (Photo: Arnica Kala/The Quint)

Karnataka’s Voter Turnout Offers Clues On Who’s Ahead In Key Seats

To know the results of the Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka, one will have to wait for 23 May, but until then, the voter turnout gives a sneak peek into the potential results in some constituencies in the southern state.

With 68.62%, Karnataka recorded its highest ever voter turnout in the two phases of elections held on 18 and 23 April. Although the increase in voter turnout was a mere 1.42% compared to the 2014 general elections, there were some seats where substantial changes in the voter turnout were witnessed.

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In Mandya, which was saw a high-intensity battle between Chief Minister Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil and actor-turned-politician Sumalatha Ambareesh, the voter turnout increased by 8.7%.

Similarly, In Tumkur, where former prime minister HD Deve Gowda is contesting and in Uttara Kannada, where Union minister Anant Kumar Hegde is seeking mandate, the voter turnout increased by 4.67% and 5.04% respectively.

(Infographic: The Quint)

How Does A Higher Turnout Affect Results?

A ‘wave election’ is a term used to describe a situation, where a political party makes major gains because of a leader or a political development. One of the signs of a wave election is a large voter turnout, which changes the status quo in the constituency or a state.

Since a parliamentary constituency is formed by eight Assembly seats, the number of voters in each constituency is larger. In such a scenario, even a 5 percent increase in the voter turnout could result in more than 50,000 additional votes.

For example, in Mandya constituency, between 2014 and 2019 general elections, the voter turnout increased by 8.7%. In terms of number of voters, this change resulted in 1,50,244 new voters.

If such a phenomenon is seen across the state or the country, it could be attributed to a large wave, like the Modi wave in 2014. However, in this election, the increase in voter turnout was limited to certain constituencies, indicating that the reason for the wave was specific to the constituency.

(Infographic: The Quint)

Who Gains in Mandya?

Kannada actor and former Congress MP MH Ambareesh’s wife Sumalatha has become a roadblock for CM Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil Gowda in Mandya. 
Kannada actor and former Congress MP MH Ambareesh’s wife Sumalatha has become a roadblock for CM Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil Gowda in Mandya. 
(Photo: Aroop Mishra/The Quint)

Political analysts and party leaders are divided over whom will the wave help in Mandya, but they agree that the electorate has decisively chosen one candidate here.

The rift between the alliance partners JD(S) and Congress in Mandya, is one of the prime reasons for the speculations that the wave is going to be in favour of independent candidate Sumalatha, who is taking on Nikhil Kumaraswamy.

The Congress party’s decision to deny Sumalatha the ticket from Mandya had created disgruntlement among many Congress workers, since Sumalatha’s late husband Ambareesh was a famous Kannada actor and former Congress MP, who enjoyed the support of the masses.

Also Read : JD(S)-Cong Rivalry in Mandya to Affect Nikhil Kumaraswamy’s Debut?

Personal attacks against Sumalatha and Ambareesh, by JD(S) leadership including CM Kumaraswamy, resulted in a sympathy wave in her favour. Her campaign, too, was an attempt to capitalise on this sympathy and her emotional speeches had caught the attention of the people.

At the same time, it is argued that the large voter turnout was a result of the Deve Gowda family’s call to all JD(S) workers to come out in support of the party in the hour of need.

Hard Times Ahead for Yeddyurappa’s Son?

The BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa has to prove he has the majority during the floor test in the Karnataka Assembly on Saturday, 19 May.
The BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa has to prove he has the majority during the floor test in the Karnataka Assembly on Saturday, 19 May.
(Photo: Meghnad Bose/The Quint)

In the hill town of Shimoga, where BJP state president BS Yeddyurappa’s son Raghavendra is fighting to retain his father’s seat, the voter turnout has increased by 4.07%, which accounts for 68,766 additional votes.

The BJP claims that the wave is in favour of their candidate, since Shimoga is Yeddyurappa’s home turf and he had camped in the constituency for weeks.

Despite these claims, the BJP is concerned about the sudden increase in the voter turnout, and the reason for this is the 2018 by-election results. In this bypoll, his son Raghavendra was fielded from the seat and the margin of victory dropped from 3.63 lakhs to 54,000 votes.

Their opponent and former Chief Minister Bangarappa’s son Madhu has been campaigning extensively in the constituency ahead of the 2019 polls to keep the BJP on edge.

Whether, these additional votes will go in the alliance’s favour will be the biggest worry for the BJP. However, the BJP claims the additional votes are cadre voters making up for missing out on voting last time.

Is Tumkur Seeing a Deve Gowda Wave?

Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, who had given up the Hassan seat for his grandson Prajwal, contested the polls from the Tumkur constituency in this election and the seat saw a spike of 4.67% votes amounting to considerable increase in additional votes.

Since the BJP candidate in the constituency G Basavaraj has contested from Tumkur in the past five elections, and since the new addition to the constituency is Deve Gowda, it is expected that the wave is the favour of the former prime minister.

Also Read : Deve Gowda clan thrives in Karnataka

Anant Kumar Hegde’s Constituency Sees Spike in Turnout

Anant Kumar Hegde
Anant Kumar Hegde
(Photo: Arun Dev/The Quint)

Another seat, which saw a positive increase in the voter turnout was Uttara Kannada. Controversial Union minister Anant Kumar Hegde is seeking re-election from Uttara Kannada and here, a 5.04% increase in the voter turnout was reported.

This increase amounts for 78,530 additional voters. However, Hegde’s margin of victory in the last election was 1,40,700 votes. Many believe that even though there is a considerable spike in the additional votes in the constituency, it may not affect Hegde’s changes of going to back to the Parliament.

Also Read : Karnataka BJP Keeps Anant Kumar Hegde Out of Star Campaigner List

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