Only 15 Seats But Here’s Why Karnataka Bypolls Are Crucial For BJP

The BJP has to win at least 7 of the 15 seats in the by-elections to retain power.

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Video Editors: Ashutosh Bhardwaj and Vivek Gupta


Thanks to the political uncertainty in Karnataka, at least two chief ministers have stepped down from their posts since the Assembly elections in 2018. On 5 December, Karnataka will see by-elections in 15 constituencies, and if things don’t go in the BJP’s favour, Karnataka will see one more chief minister stepping down in less than a year.

Why Is This By-Election So Important?

The total strength of the Karnataka Assembly is 225, which means for any political party to form a government, they will require 113 seats in the Assembly. Currently, the BJP has 105 MLAs and in order to hold power, they need to win at least 7 of the 15 seats in the coming by-elections.

The Regions

To understand the dynamics of this crucial election, it is important to understand the different regions going to polls. These 15 constituencies are spread across three different regions of Karnataka.

Seven constituencies – Gokak, Athani, Ranebennur, Kagwad, Yellapur, Vijayanagara, Hirekerur – are in north Karnataka. Six constituencies – Mahalakshmi Layout, Yeshwantpura, KR Puram, Shivajinagar, Hoskote And Chikkabalapur – are in Bengaluru's urban and rural regions. The last two seats – KR Pete and Hunsur – are in Old Mysuru Region.

How Are These Regions Different?

In north Karnataka, the BJP is politically strong, thanks to the Lingayat vote bank they enjoy. In Bengaluru, things are bit different since there are no uniform vote banks for any parties. Voters’ decision is often dependent on the popularity each candidate enjoys in different pockets and among the different demographics of constituency. In the case of old Mysuru region, the JD(S) is confident of winning because it is considered their stronghold.


No Modi Wave

The trump card that led to the BJP winning 25 out of 28 seats in the general election, remains absent from the bypolls. The central leadership of the BJP has made it clear that Modi or any other leaders will not be campaigning for the bypolls.

The saffron party’s official explanation is that PM Modi doesn’t campaign for bypolls. However, sources in the BJP said that the ‘image conscious prime minister did not want to associate himself with the poaching of MLAs’, which led to the BJP coming to power in the state.

This essentially means that results of the bypolls will be based on people’s perception of the disqualified MLAs and their willingness to elect them back to power.

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