As Karnataka prepares for another exciting assembly election, it remains to be seen whether the ruling BJP will buck a four-decade old trend to script history or if the Congress upstages its saffron rival to up its stakes as a challenger ahead of the 2024 parliamentary polls.
No political party has won a successive mandate in the state since 1985 and the BJP is eager to rewrite this bit of history and retain its southern citadel. Meanwhile, the Congress is keen to wrest power to give the party a much-needed elbow room to position itself as the main opposition player in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Now, let us look at Karnataka’s electoral history.
Karnataka has a rich electoral history since its formation as a state in 1956. Since the country’s independence in 1947, the state has seen various political ups and downs, with different parties taking turns to govern the state. The state has seen 32 chief-ministerial terms with 23 chief ministers in office.
The early years of the state’s history were marked by the dominance of the Congress party, which won every election until 1983. The state’s first Chief Minister was K. Chengalaraya Reddy, who served from 1952 to 1956. Subsequently, the Congress party continued to rule the state for several years under various Chief Ministers, including S. Nijalingappa, Veerendra Patil, and Devaraj Urs.
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In 1983, the Janata Party, led by Ramakrishna Hegde, won the state assembly elections and formed the government. The Janata Party went on to win two more elections in 1985 and 1989, making Hegde the longest-serving Chief Minister of Karnataka.
In 1994, the Janata Dal party, led by H.D. Deve Gowda, won the state elections and formed the government. Gowda became the Chief Minister of Karnataka and later went on to become the Prime Minister of India.
The late 1990s saw the rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka politics. In 1999, the BJP formed a coalition government with the Janata Dal (United) and the Karnataka Congress Party. However, the coalition government was short-lived, and the state was put under President’s rule in 2002.
In 2004, the Congress party returned to power in Karnataka after winning the state elections. The Congress government was led by Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh and later by S.M. Krishna.
In 2008, the BJP came to power in Karnataka after winning the state assembly elections. B.S. Yediyurappa became the Chief Minister of Karnataka, but his tenure was cut short due to corruption allegations. He was later acquitted of all charges.
In 2013, the Congress party once again won the state elections and formed the government under Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. The Congress government implemented several welfare schemes, including the Anna Bhagya scheme, which provided free food grains to poor families.
In 2018, the BJP returned to power in Karnataka after winning the state elections. B S Yediyurappa became the Chief Minister of Karnataka for the second time. However, his government was short-lived, and he resigned from his post in 2019. He was later replaced by Basavaraj Bommai, who currently serves as the Chief Minister of Karnataka.
Story first published: Friday, May 5, 2023, 1:00 [IST]