Days after the ruling BJP’s big debacle in the urban local bodies’ polls, the election commission announced the dates for the assembly polls in Karnataka on Wednesday. The election will be held in a single phase on May 5.
The counting would be on May 8, said Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath in Delhi while announcing the poll schedule for the 224-member assembly. This gives the BJP a little more than a month to get its act together.
Already weakened by the exit of BS Yeddyurappa and his group, the party had posted abysmal results in the civic polls last week, winning 906 wards against 1,960 of the Congress. In fact, if the civic poll verdict is anything to go by, the situation looks grim for the BJP. The JD-S had tied with it, and Yedd-yurappa’s Karnataka Janata Party was in the third slot.
The BJP does not shine where governance is concerned either. Various scandals — including the mining scam and the land scam — had surfaced over the last five years, costing various ministers their posts.
Law and order has emerged as a big issue. So has moral policing by the right-wing groups. The administration is facing a logjam, thanks to bickering between the legislators. The state is suffering from power and water crisis. Maoist activities are expected to affect election results in parts of the western ghats.
There are other problems too. The BJP’s first successful foray in the south involved the collaboration of powerful groups, notably the mining baron Reddy brothers and the Lingayat votebank.
“But now the BJP has lost the support of Reddys, BSY has taken the Lingayat leaders with him and the costal Karnataka, the party’s traditional bastion, showed a preference for the Congress in the civic polls,” said A Narayana, political analyst and assistant professor of Azim Premji University. “It is not clear which of the opposition parties would benefit, but the BJP is clearly at a disadvantage.”