ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Lurching to the Right-Karnataka and the BJP

Karnataka and the BJP The most optimistic way in which the BJP success in Karnataka may be read is as a stabilisation of the electoral prospects of the party in the state. In fact, the prospects of further expansion of the BJP base in the state are by no means exhausted ANALYSES of the rout of the Congress in the two southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have been somewhat overwhelmed by the scale of the TDP victory, it may be quite a while before we develop a more complex understanding of what has happened in Andhra Pradesh. Meanwhile, even the slickest of analyses have negotiated the Karnataka results with a few perfunctory remarks or with total silence. Clearly, the Karnataka results are less easily reduced to the enduring attractions of cheap rice, and may be an indication of the multiplicity of issues that have been considered by the electorate. While feeling optimistic about the change of guard in Karnataka, the creditable BJP win of 40 seats (up from a mere three in 1989) is cause for considerable discomfort. The most optimistic way in which the BJP success may be read is as a stabilisation of the electoral prospects of the party in the state. After all, the BJP had led in 58 assembly segments in the 1991 Lok Sabha elections and managed to win only 40 seats this time. But, for one, the Karnataka electorate has always maintained a distinction between the assembly and the parliamentary polls, so the fortunes of a party on one register do not easily translate into gains on the other. Second, the BJP wins in some segments have occurred despite, rather than because, of the fragmented nature of the choices before the electorate, and by that count are significant; elsewhere, however, even the plurality of candidates has not saved BJP candidates from losing their deposits. Where they have won, then, the-BJP's ideological appeal cannot be minimised.

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