May 16, 2023
Good morning. In today’s either/view, we discuss whether the results of the Karnataka Assembly Election will have much bearing on the 2024 General Election. We also look at the new iPhone manufacturing hub in Telangana, among other news.
📰 FEATURE STORY
Karnataka Assembly Election 2023 results – Will it have much bearing on 2024?
Governance troubles, once they start stacking up, are hard to deny. No matter how shiny or delicately spun the carpet over it is. On May 10, 2023, over five crore voters showed up to vote the incumbent Basavaraj Bommai-led BJP government out of power. Indeed, the state couldn’t buck the anti-incumbency trend this time. But its 73.19% voter turnout scripted history by marking Karnataka’s highest-ever voting percentage.
In the Karnataka Assembly Elections 2023, the Congress won an absolute majority with 135 of the 224 seats. Its 43% vote share was 7% more than the BJP this time and 5% more than its performance in the 2018 election. The BJP settled for 66 seats this time, and the Janata Dal (Secular) secured 19. Political analysts believe these results will have a bearing on the 2024 general elections, but some arguments predict they won’t.
It’s worth remembering the hullabaloo after the previous Assembly election in Karnataka, which has already gone down in history as a moment of political crisis in the state. On May 23, 2018, the HD Kumaraswamy-led JD(S) and Congress coalition government was sworn in at the Vidhana Soudha.
Party infighting unseated the coalition government. 13 Congress legislators and 3 JD(S) legislators left and joined the BJP. Despite allegations of bribery and strongarming, the BJP ascended to power and survived. This time around, 8 of the turncoats lost their seats.
A reason for the election results piquing much interest is that Karnataka is the first major state where the BJP has lost where it was an incumbent. Of course, it lost in Himachal Pradesh too, but Himachal accounts for four Lok Sabha constituencies, whereas Karnataka has 28. It’s got analysts wondering just how much impact the Assembly election results could have on the national stage.
On the other side, the Congress has made significant gains this election. Its comfortable majority placates any chances of defections that brought it to its knees in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. For the JD(S), however, the picture wasn’t quite as rosy.
Its vote share fell from 18.36% in 2018 to 13.3% in 2023, making it the regional party’s worst-ever electoral performance since 1999. A shrunken JD(S) ruled out any chances of the party playing kingmaker this year.
Strategywise, the BJP and Congress played to their strengths. The Congress has typically enjoyed support from a broad set of intersecting caste identities in Karnataka. Its vote share in the last four state elections has remained between 34% and 38%. The party also successfully used corruption as a poll plank against the BJP, evident in the “40% Sarkara, BJP means Brashtachara” election slogan.
It managed to prevent communal disputes after Bommai announced scrapping the 4% quota by meeting Muslim leaders and assuaging their worries. For the BJP, it was a hail-mary method of consolidating its Vokkaliga and Lingayat support that ended up consolidating the Muslims’ vote in Congress’ favour.
The double-engine rhetoric was not enough for the BJP to band-aid over the controversies nurtured during its rule, nor was the appeal of its national leaders like Narendra Modi and Amit Shah effective against Congress’ championing of local issues.
No doubt, both Congress and the BJP will take home lessons from the results. The central question, however, is what they mean for 2024. Will the Karnataka polls have any implications on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, which, until now, has been dubbed a shoo-in for the BJP?
VIEW: It’s got weight
A win in Karnataka for the Congress comes with lessons of successfully countering some of the BJP’s strategies previously deemed invincible. This includes polarisation and the Modi brand. There are four critical assembly elections coming up in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Telangana, where the Congress could use its lessons and chart a winning streak. The election results will help Congress better identify its voter base.
The elections can have an immense bearing in the future if the Congress manages to scale up its winning strategy to the national level. The Karnataka victory highlights the impact that a united Congress leadership and local issues can have over national leaders and national-level issues like security, which are the BJP’s strong suit. It isn’t an unimaginable conquest, as the 2004 Lok Sabha elections show. High civic participation, as Karnataka showed, could become a major platform to elevate local or state-level issues.
Lastly, this election was probably the most potent shot in the arm for the Congress. Its performance certainly puts pressure on the BJP, especially with a tightly packed electoral calendar. It demonstrates, on some level, the Bharat Jodo Yatra and Rahul Gandhi’s success. The Congress is likely to leverage this win to shape its future campaign narratives and the Opposition alliance around itself. Karnataka has not only boosted the party’s morale but will substantially improve the financial resources Congress has at its disposal.
COUNTERVIEW: It’s up in the air
It’s difficult to say how much the present elections could bear on Lok Sabha results. For one thing, people can vote differently in assembly and general elections. This is most true for the BJP, which wins national elections even in states where it’s recently lost state-level polls. The party’s previous control over nationalist discourse and Modi’s high approval ratings ensure it. In the 2019 elections, even though the Congress won Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh, the BJP won 62 Lok Sabha seats from the three states.
Some impediments can restrict lessons from the present affecting the 2024 elections. The broader our national elections get, the fewer chances of people voting tactically rather than based on nationalist or national-level appeals. Although the elevation of more localised issues isn’t impossible, it would take exceptional work from the opposition, which, for now, stands fragmented.
BJP leaders like Devendra Fadnavis are confident the Congress’s recent win won’t be replicated elsewhere. The stock market mirrors this confidence, as Nifty and Nifty Bank continued to shoot up despite Dalal Street’s current favourite losing the elections.
- Karnataka records its highest voter turnout in state polls at 73.19% – Hindustan Times
- Eight turncoats of 2019 ‘coup’ who helped BJP form government in Karnataka, lose election – The Economic Times
- JD(S) shows the worst performance in over two decades – The Hindu
- Karnataka Elections: Decoding narratives that may shape results – Hindustan Times
- Karnataka lessons for 2024 polls – Hindustan Times
- Did anything change for stock market investors after BJP’s loss? – The Economic Times
What is your opinion on this?
(Only subscribers can participate in polls)
a) The Karnataka election results will affect the 2024 General elections.
b) The Karnataka election results will not affect the 2024 General elections.
🕵️ BEYOND ECHO CHAMBERS
For the Right:
Even selfishly, Indians should not be hoping for chaos and collapse in Pakistan
For the Left:
Meiteis too have rights: Manipur is a grievous outcome of the Nehruvian folly of outsourcing Northeast to missionaries
🇮🇳 STATE OF THE STATES
RAPIDX just two more years away (New Delhi) – Commuters in Delhi-NCR can look forward to faster and smoother travel as the 17-kilometre priority stretch of RAPIDX from Sahibabad to Duhai is set to be commissioned in June this year. However, the 14-kilometre stretch in Delhi with three stations – Sarai Kale Khan, New Ashok Nagar, and Anand Vihar – is not expected to be operational until early 2025. The fourth station, Jangpura, will be developed along with a stabling yard and will come up later.
Why it matters: Once all three RAPIDX corridors are constructed, an operation control centre will be established at Jangpura RAPIDX station. The upcoming RAPIDX rail network is expected to revolutionise travel between Delhi and Meerut. According to a senior official from NCRTC, the trains are designed to run at a maximum speed of 180 km/h, which means passengers could reach their destination in less than an hour. Not only will the RAPIDX offer speedy travel, but it will also provide a comfortable and air-conditioned commute, ensuring that passengers arrive at their destination refreshed and relaxed.
New iPhone manufacturing hub (Telangana) – Foxconn, one of Apple’s biggest suppliers, is set to invest $500 million in Telangana, creating 25,000 jobs in the first phase of the project, according to an announcement by Telangana minister KT Rama Rao. The plant will be located near Hyderabad and marks a shift in Apple and Foxconn’s supply chain strategy after disruptions caused by the pandemic and protests in China. As tensions rise between the US and China, more companies are looking beyond China as a potential investment destination.
Why it matters: The Foxconn plant will create a large number of jobs, which will not only benefit the people of Telangana but also contribute to the development of the region. The investment by Foxconn in India is part of Apple’s wider push into the country. With the opening of two stores in Delhi and Mumbai last month, Apple is clearly keen to tap into the growing Indian market and establish a strong presence in the country. The investment by Foxconn will help Apple to expand its manufacturing capabilities in India and reduce its dependence on China.
DNA profiling to be included in elephant census (Jharkhand) – Wildlife officials in Jharkhand’s Palamau Tiger Reserve have begun DNA profiling of elephants as part of a census. The process is being carried out by a team from the Wildlife Institute of India and is aimed at developing a scientific method for estimating the elephant population. This advanced counting method is expected to provide a more accurate estimate and help with conservation efforts.
Why it matters: The Wildlife Institute of India is guiding the five-member team carrying out the census. The current census is the first in the world to use DNA profiling of elephants. In addition, cameras will be installed in the reserve forest during the second phase of the census to verify the results. The census is conducted every five years and aims to reduce man-elephant conflict. According to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, 462 people have died in man-elephant conflicts in the last five years.
184 fishermen return home from Pakistani jails (Gujarat) – On Monday morning, a train carrying 184 fishermen from Gujarat, who were released by Pakistani authorities after being detained for nearly four years, arrived in Vadodara. The fishermen were caught by Pakistan Maritime Security Agency (PMSA) in the Arabian Sea, claiming they had crossed into Pakistani waters from the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) near the Gujarat coast. The release of these fishermen comes as a relief to their families and the fishing community. Gujarat Fisheries Minister Raghavji Patel was present at the station to welcome the fishermen.
Why it matters: The Gujarat government informed the legislative assembly in March that 560 fishermen from the state were being held in Pakistani jails, with 274 of them apprehended in the last two years alone. Repeated representations have been made to the Centre to secure their release and reunite them with their loved ones.
Table Tennis Championship (Arunachal Pradesh) – The city of Itanagar is currently buzzing with excitement as the South Asian Youth Table Tennis Championship kicked off on Sunday, with over 100 players from six countries all set to battle it out. Representing their respective nations are talented players from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, all eager to showcase their skills and claim the championship title. The competition will continue until May 17.
Why it matters: The opportunity to host such prestigious tournaments in the country not only brings in sports tourism, but it also enables Indian players to participate with greater access and play at their home turf. Moreover, it also increases the viewership by local as well as national audience, further elevating the interest of people in the sport.
🔢 KEY NUMBER
13,795 – Lok Adalats in Chandigarh resolved 13,795 cases on Saturday.