ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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GUJARAT- Return to BJP

For instance, in Mangalore, an area where the BJP has been progressively gaining a foothold, its candidate Dhananjaya Kumar retained the seat by defeating Janardhan Poojary by a mere 7,000 votes. The Congress, on the other hand, has polled 535 percentage points more, though it has gained only four additional seats. The Janata Dal has lost 13 seats and its poll percentage has come down by 13.61. The Lok Shakti has won three seats, polling 11,30 per cent of the votes. Another interesting and significant feature of the Karnataka elections is the behaviour of the so-called Muslim vote. At the numerous meetings of various Muslim organisations before the elections, a contentious issue reportedly was whether to articulate a consolidated anti-BJP vote or to allow for local candidatures to determine the vote, Clearly, the latter has prevailed. Even in a long-held Congress seat with a large Muslim population like Bangalore North, C K Jaffer Sharif won by a slender margin over Lok Shakti's Jeevraj Alva. The splitting of the Muslim vote is even more evident in northern Karnataka. In Chikkodi and Bagalkot the Muslim vote for the Congress was apparently expected to balance the pro-Hegde caste votes. This did not happen and the LS won both seats by big margins, In Dharwad South the Congress had fielded a Muslim candidate who was expected to attract the Muslim bloc vote, but Muslim votes were evidently split not only two ways between the Congress and the JD, but three ways, some in the direction of Lok Shakti,in spite of its BJP alliance. In Gulbarga with a large Muslim electorate, where the growth of the BJP was expected to consolidate the minority vote for the Congress (rather than the JD which had held the seat in 1996), the BJP candidate won handsomely. In Hassan too, which had seen considerable communal tension before the elections, there appears to have been a split in the minority vote, with the JD, in spite of Deve Gowda contesting from there, winning only narrowly. It would be interesting indeed to sec if a section of the minority vote has moved towards the BJP-Lok Shakti alliance in the state, as the combine claims, and, if it has, why.

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