In this article, we consider nine dimensions of the 2023 Karnataka polls and examine how this election compares with past trends. This exercise will reveal the unusual character of this year’s outcome, but also points at important continuing trends.
1 Party performance
Karnataka elections rarely produce large majorities, particularly since the Bharatiya Janata Party has become an important player in the state. With 135 seats and 43% of the votes, the Congress has won unequivocally with the largest vote share and seat share obtained by any party in Karnataka since 1989.
Vote shares over time reveal that despite the growth of its presence in Karnataka, the BJP never obtained more votes than Congress. The closest they got to one another was in 2008, around 34%. But Congress was still ahead. The data also shows how BJP suffered a massive setback in 2013, when former Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa broke away from the party and contested on a separate platform, and how Congress has improved its vote share in every election since 2008.