The Karnataka Assembly has 224 seats and the incumbent BJP barely holding on to a majority. The last decade has seen permutations and combinations of party tie-ups and several politicians and MLAs change parties before, during and after elections.
As many as 20 bypolls were held in the last 5 years because of MLAs quitting their parties to join the ruling party. It foresees more by polls for the Parliament if any of the 4 sitting MPs who are contesting the Assembly election win.
According to the Chief Election Office, Karnataka has 4.36 Crore voters. Bangalore has 70.32 lakh voters of which Bangalore South constituency has 4.47 lakh voters the highest in the state. These elections about 35 lakh first time voters will be exercising their franchise if they vote.
The EC announced the advancement of poll timings by an hour as requested by the parties. Polling now begins at 7 a.m
Voting for the 14th Karnataka Assembly – 224 seats, is on May 5. Counting is on May 8th. It will be a single phase election.
Election Commission Press Note
Election on May 5th, EC gets set
Election Commission has announced assembly election dates for the state. Here is what goes into preparing for the elections.
Election Commission schedule for the elections. Dates on page 9.
Model Code of Conduct
The model code of conduct came into immediate effect when the election dates were announced.
Recent updates from the Election Commission. The updates include the Model Code of Conduct, directive to not release new funds under the MP / MLA / MLC LAD funds schemes and detailed Dos and Don’ts with respect to the model code of conduct
The Election Commission in a bid to ensure free and fair voting have announced various additional directives and several preventive measures.
The EC has directed the Karnataka Police to take strict action against anti socials and execute pending court warrants. The EC also suggested seeking services of home guards of neighbouring states for poll duty. The DG-IGP said check posts were set up to stop illegal cash, liquor and other such material which will be used during elections.
The EC instructed the State government to transfer 7 IAS and1 IPS officials prior to the Elections. The officials approached the Central Administrative Tribunal and got a stay order (Src: BS, ToI). The EC approached the High Court that set aside the CAT order observing that the EC had wide plenary powers during the election process.
In a bid to reduce electoral malpractice on Election Day, booths will be analysed this time, by using the data from earlier elections, such as over 75% votes for a single candidates, very high winning margin, very low voting percentage etc.
Election Commission guidelines on chopper use by candidates. Prior to their travel, candidates have to inform the DCs about their plans. Information on destination and expenditure are also given
Election Commission stops the implementation of subsidised rice distributionThis scheme of rice distribution at Rs 2 per kilo was announced during the Budget session this February (2013) and was going to be launched in April
In total, 70,000 personnel are expected to monitor the polls, they include Central and State Government employees, policemen and paramilitary forces. 500 companies of paramilitary forces will be deployed for the elections this time. The cost of conducting the elections is expected to be around 200 Crores. The State Government will bear the entire costs and has already released half the amount.
Although the elections is a single phase election, the EC has banned exit polls and any form of its display in the electronic media
The EC also interacted with parties, got their feedback and reviewed poll arrangements. While BJP sought an extension in poll timings, the JD-S sought a ban in pre poll surveys.
s to vote
BPAC takes a civil society initiative, works towards getting the public involved in poll process. They have been encouraging the middle class citizens to register their names on the rolls.
Previous statistics show the apathy of Bangalore voters despite efforts from several organisations creating awareness on the elections in general, the need to vote and candidates (Oneindia news)
The EC seizes more than 10 crore cash, 42,000 litres of liquor and 1.52 crores of articles meant for distribution. The EC has enlisted IT officials and other state officials to keep a tab on these activities. Prohibitory orders are in place for the 5th – election day and 8th – counting day. The EC from previous experience is also keeping a tab on multiple money orders and parcels originating from a single address. EC registers 2 cases of paid news.
MLAs across all parties seem to have prospered in the past five years of working for the people with their incomes increasing in crores.
“Congress tops the asset list and BJP tops the criminal list”
10 MLA hopefuls have incomes that cross the 100 crore mark and a majority of the candidates have crossed the 10 crore mark. According to this detailed article, some MLAs assets shoot up by 5000% – the average assets partywise, MLAs whose assets have increased 1000 fold and other very rich MLAs details are listed. Another article calls the MLAs “recession proof”, their average assets growing from 10.59 crores to 19.87 crores. The ADR study also a few MLAs whose assets have decreased. The study also highlights that 44 out of 48 MLAs with criminal records have returned to contest elections. A study of affidavits by Karnataka Election watch highlight the magnitude of corruption and crime in politics. The report shows that Congress tops the asset list and BJP tops the criminal list.
Irrespective of their clout, every candidate and party do their loudspeaker, door to door, materialistic wooing of the electorate. Most of them get reported because invariably someone steps over the line, either with their own party or with the EC. A couple of Loksatta candidates found themselves in the news for sending out the wrong message from the party standpoint on caste, reservation and women.
Actress Ramya campaigning for Roshan Baig in Shivajinagar managed to draw large crowds. She was quoted saying that she was glad to air her political views with her fans and when asked about the ‘Sakala” scheme, she said she was unaware of if.
Congress party president G Parameshwara and other leaders announced an 18 point agenda for Bangalore. The Congress party says that the people of Karnataka are looking for a change and their party is just right to fill that need. Congress leader Veerappa Moily said that voters are fed up and want a stable government. Although he says that the Congress will not announce a CM candidate as it may be counter productive, Jaffer Sharief says he is an aspirant too too. S M Krishna who began his campaign trail for the Congress from Govindrajanagar (the richest candidate Priya Krishna’s constituency) said that the BJP is now in pieces and Congress is the only hope for the state.
BJP in an attempt to woo Muslim voters says that they were never anti muslim and unlike Congress, they don’t see Muslims as vote banks. R Ashoka says that BJP will win at least 20 out of 28 seats from Bangalore because of the confusion in the congress.
Deve Gowda in response to a question on whether JDS will be a kingmaker, he did not rule out the possibility of JDS winning majority.
KJP says they will win 43 seats under any circumstances and turn kingmaker in case of a hung assembly. Former minister Shobha Karandlaje announces that KJP will solve the Cauvery problem and if people wanted their voices heard in Delhi, they needed to be voted in.
Only 170 out of the near 3000 candidates in the fray are women, many standing as independents rather than any mainstream party. The lack of winnability has been cited as the reason to cover the fact that money and muscle power are critical in winning an election.
17 April 2013 was the last date for filing nominations and over 650 nominations were filed. In all about 3000 nominations have been filed since April 10th.
Nominations on an auspicious day! Over a 1000 candidates, including prominent leaders felt it was important to file their nomination papers with the EC on 16th April, an auspicious day
Real estate tycoons in politics – In Karnataka, real estate developers are an integral part of politics cutting across party lines. However, this article, points out that various lobbies and castes have lost much of the clout they have had during the previous elections.
Power and polls – There have been powercuts in several parts of the city though this has not been announced officially with the elections around the corner. BESCOM officials did not acknowledge it and said it was due to random reasons. Earlier in the year BESCOM MD had announced power cuts on his facebook page.
Less women candidates and MLAs in Karnataka compared to neighbouring states. According to the data from the EC on women representatives the combined average from the past 3 elections is 2.67%
There is no dearth of glamour quotient in the Karnataka Assembly Elections that has Sandalwood starts either contesting or campaigning for the major parties. Pooja Gandhi and Rakshita Prem have tickets from KJP party. Star campaigners for various parties include actors Ramya, Bhavana, Darshan, veteran Ambareesh and even Chiranjeevi.
Seven former CMs to contest or campaign this time. All of them, M Veerappa Moily, H D Deve Gowda, S M Krishna, N Dharam Singh, H D Kumaraswamy, B S Yeddyurappa, D V Sadananda Gowda and Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar have been in power in the last two decades, and two of them have their sons also contesting.
Since the announcement of the election dates, parties have struggled with the list of probable candidates. Parties begin shortlisting candidates and then announcing their first,second, third, other and final lists. Congress announced that losers may not get party tickets
BJP targets Yeddyurappa, says now it is corruption free, after Yeddyurappa left the party
JD(S) accuses D K Shivakumar, Congress of violating the poll code, submits a petition to the Election Commission. (Src:DH, DNA)
There have been allegations in the JD(S) camp about leaders accepting money for tickets
Party website: Click here.
A gist of the JDS manifest that promises all round development. The leadership says it is nothing less than a religious book. Party promises include waiver of all farm loans, pension schemes for the farming community and encroached land in Bangalore will be recovered. Manifesto for Bangalore City from the JD(S) website – For more details
JD(S) to announce candidate list soon. According to the JD(S) website the candidates
H D Kumaraswamy says minorities candidate list is ready – B Z Zameer Ahmed Khan (Chamarajpet), Abdul Azeem (Hebbal), Abbas Ali Bohra (Shivajinagar) and K.S. Sameeulla (Jayanagar).
Manmohan, Sonia and Rahul to campaign for the elections announces KPCC president G Parameshwara
Congress candidate from Govindrajnagar and son of real estate magnate M Krishnappa, Priya Krishna is once again the richest candidate with assets worth 815.37 crores. His father has declared his assets as 100 Cr.
Rebellion in the Congress over party tickets being denied to followers of party leaders and according to the report senior party leaders are not doing much damage control. Tickets are given to favourites of senior party member and the confusion in the Congress many cost it good results in Karnataka.
The HC questions fund collection from aspirants by Congress – The Karnataka High court had issued a notice to the EC, AICC President Sonia Gandhi and the KPCC President G Parameshwara on the legality of collecting Rs 10,000 as party fund from aspirants for Congress tickets. Following these allegations the Congress formed a panel consisting of senior leaders to look into the matter.
Congress releases a handbook on BJPs failures d
uring their tenure and has pictures of various protests held against the BJP
Polls screening committee members announced. A K Antony to head the panel to monitor and coordinate Assembly elections.
Party website (not updated). Click here.
Manifesto :Click here
Loksatta declares the list of candidates. Click here to read.
The KJP released its manifesto.
Think tank for KJP Manifesto – those who agreed include UR Ananthamurthy, Chandrashekar Patil (Champa), Hampa Nagarajaiah, Nallur Prasad, corporate leader TV Mohandas Pai, former chief secretary BS Patil, scholar and former minister Mumtaz Ali Khan and Ganapathy Narayana Hegde among others.
Workshop for KJP candidates focused on how to file affidavits, the strategies that need to be followed during the campaigns and so on.
On the nomination front, KJP announces 69 candidates in the first list. KJP announces second list of 33 Candidates. Five ex-ministers in second list. KJP changes its candidate for Dharwad.
While BJP decided not to give tickets to ‘tainted’ MLAs, their close aides and in one case a mother has been given tickets from the same constituency (Src: Zee News)
Incumbent Chief Minister is confident that BJP will get a majority during the elections (Src: Deccan Herald)
BJP manifesto in Kannada: Click here.
Prahlad Joshi is new Karnataka BJP party president. Party president has his work cut out says report
Advani, Rajnath to campaign in Karnataka elections
Dr Ashwath Narayan, Malleswaram MLA is using Google ads to reach out to voters. He is also active on social Media.
Badavara Shramika Raitha Congress (BSR Congress) was floated by Sriramulu, a former BJP minister who is close to the Reddy brothers of Bellary. Though a little known party, it has bigger parties thinking about the vote share they would lose in some districts where Sriramulu is popular.
ECI must exercise Caution while issuing EPICs to those who have moved into Bengaluru/Mysore etc.
ECI has stated there is increase in number of voters in Karnataka;2008 polls 4,00,77,666; for 2013 the number is likely to be more than 4,36,00,000. People are becoming aware of the decaying system of governance and would like to cure with participatory democracy.
EPIC/Voter ID card has assumed importance as proof of identity Reports say, every day about 800 people are arriving in Bengaluru alone, in search of jobs.
Similarly, thousands are fanning out to Tier II cities like Mysore, Tumkur, Ramanagara etc. There is every possibility that the presence of considerable rank outsiders might be used by unscrupulous political elements to increase their base of voters by helping them with residential proofs etc., for obtaining EPICs.
Therefore and in view of the recent incidents of bomb blasts and terrorist-like activities in Bengaluru and other places it would be necessary to exercise proper vigil and due diligence before issuing EPICs to new voters so that authorities will have some sort of information/data about presence of outsiders in the State.
ECI is under pressure for finalising Electoral Rolls for the Assembly election but the important function of scrutiny and checking the antecedents of an applicant should not get diluted; all checks and balances must be exercised properly.
Further, all fresh applicants may not get their EPICs on time for voting (there is no system to send EPICs by post) but according to ECI, officials will visit every home, check with the inmates and issue a replica of the electoral roll to enable voting. But voters must not forget to carry any one of the 21 (including Aadhaar) identity proofs along with the slip received from ECI.