Bengaluru: Three major parties in Karnataka have distributed a majority of their tickets to the candidates of two dominant communities in the state namely Lingayat and Vokkaliga. While the support of the Lingayat community goes to the BJP, the Congress- JD(S) is backed by the Vokkaligas. Keeping caste equations in mind, the parties have garnered the support of these local communities over the past two decades.
The Congress which has picked six from the community is yet to announce its candidate for one seat. The BJP which fielded nine Lingayats is yet to nominate three. In 2014, the BJP garnered about 43 per cent of votes, while the Congress and JD(S) together gained 50 per cent of votes. From the Vokkaligas, the saffron party picked six nominees, while the Congress and JD(S) together chose five nominees from the community.
Moreover, the BJP fielded two candidates from other backward classes (OBCs) plus three Brahmins, while the Congress-JD(S) combine fielded eight candidates belonging to the OBC category. The Congress, which nominated one candidate from the Muslim community, is likely to field another from Dharwad.BJP has fielded the only woman candidate namely Shobha Karandlaje (Udupi-Chikkamagalur).
A report by Times of India quoted political analyst Viswas Shetty as saying, “The caste factor is still at the core of Karnataka’s politics and tickets are distributed accordingly.” While Lingayats constitute roughly 17-19 per cent, the Vokkaligas make up an estimated 12 to 15 per cent of the six crore population. Former chief minister Siddaramaiah belong to the OBC category which constitutes around 8 to 10 per cent of the population. The OBCs play a major role as they have the influential Kuruba community.