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Karnataka's BIG DAY: What the parties are looking for

Last updated on: May 7, 2013 14:41 IST

Karnataka's BIG DAY: What the parties are looking for

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Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore

Wednesday's keenly-watched counting to the Karnataka assembly election will have varying significance for different political parties, reports Vicky Nanjappa.

Wednesday will be a big day in Karnataka as the southern state will have a new government in place by the end of the day. The counting to the recently-concluded assembly election, which will commence at 8 am, will be keenly watched.

The counting of votes will take place in 36 centres across the states and the fate of candidates from 223 constituencies will be decided. The election at Periyapatana assembly constituency was countermanded after the death of a candidate.

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Image: An election official opens a sealed electronic voting machine on counting day
Photographs: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters

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Do or die for Congress CM aspirants

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The Congress hopes to make a killing this time and is confident that it would form the government on its own. It would not mind falling a bit short of the magic number of 112 and rely on the independents.

However, it would not want to enter into a coalition with any of the parties as it would be in no position to decide on its leader or even the rest of the cabinet.

In the Congress a lot is at stake for Siddaramaiah who considers it his last chance to become the chief minister. It is a do or die situation for him and in case he is not made the CM there is a good chance of him revolting.

Siddaramaiah would hope that Congress would not need to depend on Janata Dal-Secular to form the government.

It will be curtains for Siddaramaiah in case of a tie-up with JD-S as the Gowda clan will not even let him be a part of the cabinet.

The case is similar for G Parameshwara, the Karnataka state unit Congress chief. He would like to ride on the success as the Congress chief and stake a claim to become CM. However, he would first need to retain his Koratagere seat.

This will also be his last chance of becoming the chief minister and a lot would depend on the results tomorrow.

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Image: Congress leader Siddaramaiah campaigns in Varuna
Photographs: Madhusudhan S R

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BJP hopes for some magic

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The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government would hope that it can pull off some magic. It has been hoping that the people would forget about the B S Yeddyurappa rule for the first three years.

Although things look very difficult for the BJP, it would hope for a turn over in fortunes. The BJP realises that the going is tough and in case it loses the elections it would have a lot of introspection to do -- for instance, patch things up with B S Yeddyurappa and focus heavily on the next elections.

In the BJP the fate of some key leaders is at stake as well. Deputy Chief Minister K S Eshwarappa, who acted like a crusader against Yeddyurappa's alleged corrupt stint, faces a tough challenger in Shimoga. A loss over there would spell a doomsday for him. He will need to explain his tirade against Yeddyurappa and a loss would only mean that he is unable to win the seat without the support of BSY. There is a good chance of him being sidelined in case he does not win the seat.

The fate of Karnataka minister Suresh Kumar will also be keenly watched. Considered to be a very honest man, Suresh Kumar is up against Shobha Karandlage, the blue eyed lady of B S Yeddyurappa, in Rajajajinagar.

If Suresh Kumar does manage to win, he would secure his position in the top rung of BJP. However, a loss would only mean that there is no going past the power of Yeddyurappa.

Although a win by Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar is certain at his Hubli-Dharwad central constituency, it would be interesting to see how many Lingayat votes he will be able to garner from North Karnataka.

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Image: K S Eshwarappa campaigns in Shimoga
Photographs: Courtesy: Karnataka BJP website

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Unique battle for Yeddyurappa

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Yeddyurappa, who has proclaimed himself as the sole Lingayat leader, is trying to eat into that vote bank.

Newly-formed Karnataka Janata Paksha chief Yeddyurappa, on the other hand, faces a unique battle. Getting over 10 seats would mean that he stays in contention in the Karnataka political scenario.

Although his sole intention is to defeat the BJP and this election has been more about his revenge, it would still be important for him to do well.

Even if he needs to strike peace with the BJP in the near future, he will have to do well for himself. More importantly, the damage he causes to the BJP will be more important for his political future as he need to give his former party the feeling that they cannot do without him.

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Image: KJP chief Yeddyurappa campaigns in Shikaripura
Photographs: Courtesy: KJP website

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JD-S hopes for a minimum 50 seats

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The JD-S will also try to improve its position. It is hoping that it gets over 50 seats. It would also hope that the Congress falls short of a majority so that it could have a say in the government formation process.

The JD-S too has plenty at stake and would like to have some power at least. In case the H D Kumaraswamy-led party is not a part of the government-formation process, it would be sitting out of power for 10 years in a row and that is not good for the party.

There is a good chance of several members leaving the party and going with the Congress or the BJP which have a better chance of forming a government in Karnataka.

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Image: JD-S leaders H D Deve Gowda and H D Kumaraswamy unveiling the party manifesto in Bangalore
Photographs: Courtesy: JD-S website

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Battle of existence for Sriramulu

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The BSR Congress, which is headed by B Sriramulu from Bellary, will hope to retain some seats in Bellary district at least.

At the moment it appears as though the BSR Congress will retain only the Bellary Rural constituency and that is because the seat is being contested by Sriramulu himself.

It would need a minimum of 5 seats at least from Bellary for it to stay in contention, failing which it will be curtains for the party and its leader would have no choice but to return to the BJP or seek shelter with the Congress.

Quick look at the 2008 tally in Karntaka:

BJP-110, Congress-80, JD-S-28. The BJP ended up forming the government with the support of 5 independent candidates who were all given cabinet berths.


Image: BSR Congress chief Sriramulu campaigns in Bellary
Photographs: Courtesy: BSR Congress website

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