Karnataka will be the first state in India to go to polls under a changed electoral map.
With the boundaries being re-drawn following the delimitation committee report, the political game in Karnataka is witnessing a change. Several political big-wigs, who have sailed through comfortably during the previous elections, are now working overtime as several of their constituencies have been dissolved, following the delimitation process.
Following the delimitation process, 80 constituencies across the state have been redrawn.
Under the new pattern, the number of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes has increased to 51 and Bangalore alone has 28 constituencies as against the 16 it had during the earlier elections.
This goes on to show that the elections this time around would be more urban centric.
The number of rural constituencies has come down to 174 from the previous 194.
Despite several new constituencies being formed, the number of seats in the Karnataka legislative assembly will remain at 225 (one nominated member). Although several constituencies have been deleted, several more have been added; ensuring the number of seats in the assembly does not change.
What is delimitation:
Delimitation is the process in which constituencies are re-drawn.
The delimitation process is aimed at ensuring that each constituency has an electorate ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 lakh voters, thus ensuring equal representation. The main thrust is to divide the area into the required number of seats depending upon the population of the area.
K N Phanindra, advocate and expert on the subject, explains that this process is undertaken to ensure that there is proper representation in all constituencies.
Take the example of the Uttarhalli assembly constituency in Bangalore, which had 16 lakh voters. The segment is bigger than a parliamentary constituency, which usually has around 8 to 10 lakh voters.
While this was the case at Uttarhalli, Shivajinagar is a different story with just 84,000 voters. Hence, in order to maintain a balance, the delimitation process needs to be undertaken.
The delimitation process is undertaken by a commission, set up under the Delimitation Act of 2002. The process was last carried out in 1976. Normally, the exercise is to be undertaken once in ten years, according to the census report.
Coping with change:
This change has had its affects on several candidates in Karnataka.
In the Old Mysore belt, senior leaders like Dhruvanarayan, Krishnamurthy R and Hemavathi of the Congress, Janata Dal-Secular and Bharatiya Janata Party respectively will have to move to constituencies such as Kolar, Nanjangud or T Narsipur.
There are several such instances in the state and in all at least 500 candidates from all parties have been affected.
This would mean that the ground work for these candidates has to be laid from scratch.
Candidates, who have been contesting the elections since several years from a particular constituency, will no longer canvas on personal rapport. They will have to rely heavily on the image of the party and a whole new familiarization exercise will have to be undertaken.
Explains, Mariswamy Gowda (name changed), a political worker in the BJP camp at Bangalore.
"BJP's Katta Subramanya Naidu, who has been contesting from Shivajinagar, has now been moved to Hebbal a larger constituency. As long as he contested the polls from Shivajinagar it was really easy for us as the whole constituency knew him well. However, now things have changed and Hebbal is a new constituency for us. We will rely more on door to door campaign as we need to undertake a familiarization exercise," Gowda told rediff.com.
Congress and JD-S workers express the same view.
Krishnappa, a JD-S worker, says: "First and foremost, we need to get the voter familiar with the face of the candidate. Calendars, post cards and hand bills with images of our leader will be distributed first. We would then go along with our leader on a door-to-door campaign so that the voter is familiar with the leader."
However, Krishnappa agrees the main thrust will be on the party unlike previous polls that were fought on independent capacity.
All parties will have their respective star campaigners during the elections.
While Sonia Gandhi [Images] and Narendra Modi [Images] will be the star campaigners for the Congress and the BJP respectively, the JD-S will rely on H D Kumaraswamy and his father Deve Gowda.
Sources told rediff.com that the services of the star campaigners would be utilized the most in the re-drawn constituencies as they need to work their magic there.