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Kaun Banega Karnataka Ka Mukhya Mantri?

By Aditi Phadnis
April 13, 2023 08:59 IST
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They are the contenders, the leaders of parties that will finally form a government in Karnataka.

IMAGE: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj S Bommai, left, and Bharatiya Janata Party senior leader B S Yediyurappa at the Kommaghatta Maidan, Kengeri, Bengaluru. Photograph: ANI Photo

B S Yediyurappa

Seasoned oarsman

There is agreement that if there is a leader in the Bharatiya Janata Party with a pan-Karnataka appeal, it is BSY, as he is known in the state.

This is borne out by the fact that when BSY walked out of the BJP in 2012 and floated his party, the Karnataka Janata Paksha, he did not win many seats but succeeded in damaging the BJP grievously: The party was reduced to 40 seats in the 2013 Assembly elections and the Congress formed the government.

After a stint as chief minister, BSY was kicked upstairs to the Margdarshak Mandal.

He continues to wield enormous clout and if he does not pull his weight, the BJP's performance could be affected.


Basavaraj Bommai

An 'outsider', not quite

The current CM has an unenviable task: He is the victim of a power pull-and-push in his party and not his own man, but he still has to ensure victory.

The BJP made Bommai, a relatively late entrant to the party from the Janata Dal-United -- he joined the party in 2008 -- the CM to succeed BSY (2021).

But he is still considered by many to be an 'outsider'.

Bommai is a Lingayat, a politically influential caste, but with less clout than BSY, also a Lingayat and in some ways, his mentor from whom he has since parted ways.

D K Shivakumar

Always a bridesmaid, never the bride

IMAGE: Karnataka Congress President D K Shivakumar being felicitated during an election campaign programme in Chikkanayakanahalli, April 9, 2023. Photograph: ANI Photo

The Congressman whose supporters consider has always been the bridesmaid, never the bride, is ready to strike out in this election.

In the last assembly election, Shivakumar was the candidate with the highest networth.

He has always been a Congressman and has defeated top Vokkaliga leaders, including H D Deve Gowda in 1998.

Shivakumar has the resources but many in the party resent his rise.

He belongs to the politically crucial South Karnataka region which is a Janata Dal-Secular bastion.

As the current chief of the Congress's state unit, he will have a big say in ticket allotment.


'Shepherd' leads Backward flock

The former Congress CM (2013-2018) has announced that the May 10 election will be his last electoral battle.

He has also said that he is an aspirant for the chief ministership.

He will likely contest two seats -- Varuna in Mysuru, his original constituency, and Kolar.

A powerful orator, he belongs to the socially backward Kuruba (shepherd) community and is a votary of AHINDA (a Kannada acronym for Alpasankhyataru or minorities, Hindulidavaru or backward classes, and Dalitaru or Dalits) caste alliance.

Shivakumar and he acknowledge their rivalry, but that they have put it aside for the upcoming election: A proposition that will be tested in the election.

H D Kumaraswamy

Kingmaker or king?

For many years, the operational head of the JD-), Kumaraswamy's eyes are fixed on 40: The number of seats he must win in the 224-member assembly to play the role of kingmaker if the election yields a hung House.

All parties have their eyes on him: Union Home Minister Amit Shah launched a blistering attack on Kumaraswamy's party and politics a few months ago, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi has kept his counsel.

In the Congress, D K Shivakumar has ruled out alliances with any other party but others in the party have a line of communication open to Kumaraswamy should a post-poll situation warrant one.

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Aditi Phadnis
Source: source