ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Significance of the Karnataka Mandate

The results of the Karnataka assembly elections signal a victory for a politics centred on social welfare.

The verdict in the 2023 Karnataka assembly elections is unambiguous—the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government has been roundly defeated by the Congress. These assembly elections also registered the highest-ever voter turnout for Karnataka at 73.19%, surpassing the 72.13% turnout in 2018. There were apprehensions among some pollsters and observers alike that these elections might result in a hung assembly, with neither the Congress nor the BJP crossing the requisite majority mark of 113 seats, in which case the Janata Dal (Secular) (JD[S]) could have emerged as a decisive player in the elections. Belying such predictions of a hung assembly, the Congress won 135 seats—22 more than the majority mark—in a 224-seat legislative assembly, whereas the BJP won 66 and the JD(S) won 19 seats.

While it is clear that the incumbent BJP suffered huge losses in terms of its share of seats as compared to the previous elections, its share of votes reveals a slightly different story. The BJP received 36% of the votes in the 2023 elections, more or less maintaining its vote share from the 2018 elections, which was at 36.22%. The Congress had garnered 38.04% votes in the 2018 elections, while it received 42.88% votes in the 2023 elections. The JD(S) had won 18.36% votes in the 2018 elections, while it could only fetch 13.29% votes in the 2023 elections. The division of votes among these three parties in the 2023 elections showcases a larger narrative about electoral politics in India, and offers significant clues to explain why the Congress registered such a massive victory in Karnataka.

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Updated On : 27th May, 2023
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