Reading list: 15 articles that analyse Scroll’s reportage before the Karnataka Assembly elections

Hindutva politics, independent status for the Lingayat community, corruption, the Cauvery dispute, and political murders were important before the polls.

Results for the Assembly elections in Karnataka will be out on Tuesday. Counting of votes for 222 of the 224 constituencies will begin at 8 am. A total of 72.13% of the electorate had turned out to vote, a number the Election Commission said was probably the highest since the 1952 Assembly elections.

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The elections are significant because Karnataka is the only major state remaining with the Congress, and the Bharatiya Janata Party is keen to add it to its tally ahead of the 2019 General Elections.

The run-up to the elections was marked by exhaustive campaigning from both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party, the two major players in the state.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s chief ministerial candidate BS Yeddyrurappa have both expressed their confidence that they will lead the state. Yeddyurappa predicted he will take oath on May 17, and claimed his party would win 145 to 150 seats. Siddaramaiah responded by calling him “mentally disturbed”, and said the Congress would win 120 seats. The third major party in the fray, the Janata Dal (Secular), also appeared to be confident of winning enough seats all by itself. Party leader HD Kumaraswamy said the JD(S) would “cross the magic number on its own”.

The JD(S) has refused to openly back either the Congress or the BJP for the polls, and is likely to play kingmaker in the event of a hung Assembly.

Here is some of Scroll’s reporting ahead of the Assembly elections:

  • In Karnataka, it is Congress’ AHINDA versus BJP’s Hindutva, the third party Janata Dal (Secular) could hold the key: Supriya Sharma reported on the difference in strategies between the main parties in the run up to the elections.
  • Will Congress benefit in Karnataka from the Lingayat demand to be recognised as a distinct religion? Supriya Sharma spoke to many members of the community before the Siddaramaiah government wrote to the Centre recommending that the Lingayat faith be declared independent, and found that many of them identified as Hindu.
  • Have ‘jihadis’ killed 23 Hindutva activists in Karnataka since 2014 as BJP claims? In this two-part series, Sruthisagar Yamunan investigated the 23 cases listed by the BJP as murders of ‘Hindu activists’ by members of Muslim organisations, and found that there was more than just Hindutva and Islamist clashes.
  • Lingayats in Karnataka cannot make up their minds on whom to vote for – or even who they really are: Archana Nathan reported on the existential dilemma the community faced ever since the Congress government recommended independent status for the Lingayat religion.
  • In Karnataka, talk of clean politics sounds hollow as Congress, BJP pick tainted candidates: Both parties have invoked ‘winnability’ to justify their choices, writes Sruthisagar Yamunan.
  • ‘Ban that wretched liquor and free us women’: Often assaulted by the alcoholic men in their families, women are leading a movement demanding a ban on liquor across the state, reported Archana Nathan.
  • Split between left and right, which way will Karnataka’s Dalits vote? Archana Nathan highlighted the differences within the leaders of the Madiga community.
  • In Karnataka, a candidate of Yogendra Yadav’s party is contesting elections – with Congress help: But Darshan Puttannaiah of the Swaraj Abhiyan told TA Ameerudheen he is under no obligation to support the Congress in the event of a hung Assembly.
  • Among Karnataka’s Muslims, the Siddaramaiah factor could trump anti-incumbency against Congress MLAs: TA Ameerudheen reported on the Muslim voter base in the state. They form 13% of the state’s population but account for just 5% of Assembly seats.
  • Why the MLA considered the ‘Congress moneybags’ in Karnataka commands both fear and respect: DK Shivakumar and his brother DK Suresh have a vice-like grip on Kanakapura, near Bengaluru, reported Sruthisagar Yamunan.
  • Karnataka farmers hope Supreme Court order on Cauvery water will make farm distress a campaign issue: Though political parties have started talking about water scarcity, the resultant agrarian crisis has not featured prominently in their campaigns so far, wrote TA Ameerudheen.
  • Deve Gowda’s supporters feel his party should join hands with BJP to defeat Congress: TA Ameerudheen reported on how the Vokkaliga community feels that Janata Dal (S) should ally with the BJP to shunt the Siddaramaiah-led Congress out of power.
  • RSS workers are ‘silently campaigning’ for BJP in Karnataka without telling people who they are: Sruthisagar Yamunan’s investigation into how the RSS, which always maintains it never campaigns for any political party, was silently working for the BJP in coastal Karnataka.
  • Rahul Gandhi for ‘India’s future prime minister’: Karnataka 2018 is also about India 2019, writes Supriya Sharma. Despite the uncertainty in the state and Rahul Gandhi’s limited popularity, Congress workers are calling him the future prime minister.
  • In communally volatile coastal Karnataka, sand mining and politics feed off each other: It is a challenge to ensure money from illegal mining does not reach people who want to cause trouble, reported Sruthisagar Yamunan.
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