The Swing Factor In Karnataka Assembly Elections - Prannoy Roy's Analysis

Data from the past elections in Karnataka shows that anti-incumbency has not been the trend in recent years.

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The Swing Factor In Karnataka Assembly Elections - Prannoy Roy's Analysis

Karnataka Election: One factor expected to hugely influence the results is the turnout of women voters


Bengaluru:  Karnataka, where the BJP is fighting tooth and nail to wrest power from the Congress, votes in four days for a new government. Opinion polls have predicted a hung verdict in the state.

Data from the past elections shows that anti-incumbency has not been the trend in recent years. Increasingly, the state has been re-electing sitting legislators.
 
anti incumbency graphic 1 karnataka

The trend has been replicated in the Lok Sabha elections as well -- 2004 was the median year after which the balance tilted.
 
anti incumbency graphic 2 karnataka

Claims of winning with a majority have also been made by Congress's Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who is seeking a second term in power, and the man he terms his chief rival - BJP's presumptive chief minister BS Yeddyurappa. Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda's Janata Dal Secular, which is expected to play a big role in case of a hung verdict, has claimed it will support neither Congress nor the BJP. The party, which has teamed up with Mayawati, the Dalit powerhouse from Uttar Pradesh, claims it will make a clean sweep.

Caste is expected to be a key factor in this election. But there is no trend of any caste voting en-masse for any party.

From Lingayats in the north and central parts of the state to Vokkaligas in the south to Scheduled Castes and Tribes in the eastern zone, the dominant party has a certain advantage. In the coastal areas, the mixed castes are evenly divided between the Congress and the BJP.
 
caste graphics karnataka election

Data also shows that while caste influences the levels of support, other issues can override it and cause a pro-Congress or a pro-BJP swing. To get a complete majority in the 224-seat assembly, the BJP needs a 4 per cent swing, the Congress needs 3 percent.

The list that could affect that swing stars Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
 
caste graphics karnataka election

In Karnataka, even a minor swing can translate to a big difference in results. But data shows that almost every region swings in the same direction as the rest of the state, even though the levels may vary.
 
caste graphics karnataka election


The other factor expected to hugely influence the results is the turnout of women voters.

Over the years, the participation of women voters has almost been equal to that of men.
 
women voters graphic karnataka election

While overall participation of women has increased across the state, in some areas it is more marked.

The highest turnout of women is in Vokkaliga belt in the south, which is the stronghold of HD Deve Gowda's Janata Dal Secular. The participation of women is lowest in Muslim-dominated areas.
 
women voters graphic karnataka election

Overall, the participation of women is seen as an advantage for the Congress, since women voters in general tend to favour Congress more than men.
 
women voters graphic karnataka election

The assembly elections in Karnataka will be held on Saturday. The results will be declared on May 15.


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