Karnataka Assembly polls 2023: Key candidates, seats to watch out for

10 May, 2023 | Vaishali Sharma

karnataka National

In the major constituencies, both the BJP and the Congress are fielding some of their best candidates. The BJP has also taken a risk by fielding 50 new candidates among its 224 total.

People in Karnataka are gearing up to vote in assembly elections on Wednesday, following a high-voltage election campaign.

The state’s three major political parties, the BJP, the Congress, and the Janata Dal-Secular (JDS), have all made efforts to woo voters, making promises and levelling accusations at each other in order to secure a majority in the 224-seat Assembly. The majority threshold for forming a government is 113 seats.

The Lingayat and Vokkaliga voters will be crucial in the elections. Lingayats make up 17% of the population, while Vokkaligas make up 11%.

Varuna, Kanakapura, Shiggaon, Hubli-Darwad, Channapatna, Shikaripura, Chittapur, Ramanagara, and Chikmagalur are among the key constituencies that will make a significant impact in the polls.

In the major constituencies, both the BJP and the Congress are fielding some of their best candidates. The BJP has also taken a risk by fielding 50 new candidates among its 224 total. The BJP’s decision to deny tickets to several senior leaders resulted in their leaving the party and joining the Congress or JD(S).

Former Karnataka Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar is one of them. After being denied a ticket for the Hubli-Darwad West Assembly constituency, he joined the Congress and will run from the same seat as the Congress candidate. Shettar has won this seat several times.

Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who has won three consecutive terms from the Shiggaon constituency, is another key candidate.

Varuna is also a wide-eyed constituency. Siddaramaiah, a Congress leader and former chief minister, is running from Varuna, where he has won every election since 2008.

BJP veteran leader and former Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa declined to field his son BY Vijayendra from Varuna, despite reports that party workers wanted Vijayendra to run against Siddaramaiah. BY Vijayendra will run from Shikaripura, a stronghold of his father, BS Yediyurappa.

DK Shivakumar, president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC), will run from Kanakapura. He is also the Congress party’s chief ministerial candidate, and he will face Vokkaliga strongman and state revenue minister R Ashoka of the BJP.

Coming to Channapatna, where the JD (S) leader and former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, the BJP’s Yogeshwar, and the Congress party’s Gangadhar are battling it out. Kumaraswamy and Yogeshwara are both members of the dominant Vokkaliga community.

Priyank Kharge, the son of Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, will run for the Chittapur Assembly seat. He was also a minister in Siddaramaiah’s government.

After losing in the 2019 elections, former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Deve Gowda’s grandson Nikhil Kumaraswa will run from the Ramanagara Assembly constituency. He will face Congress veteran HA Iqbal Hussain as well as BJP’s Gowtham Gowda.

Finally, Chikmagalur is one of the key seats that the BJP will eye during this poll.

CT Ravi, the party’s national general secretary, is running for the seat. Ravi has a winning record in Chikmagalur since 2004 and is a member of the Lingayat community, giving him a stronghold in the constituency.

The BJP, despite the anti-incumbency factor, is eyeing a second term in the state and has expressed confidence in retaining power with a full majority.

Karnataka is the only state in the South where the BJP is in power. With top leaders such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah campaigning for the party, the BJP has made every effort to increase its support base.

The Congress also ran a high-decibel campaign with big promises with top leaders like Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.