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The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu Bureau

Karnataka election results 2023 | Key constituencies where political heavyweights are battling it out

Counting finally began across 36 centres on Saturday for votes cast on May 10 to decide the fate of 224 Assembly seats in Karnataka where the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Congress, and the Janata Dal (Secular) have been locked in an intense battle to clinch power. While trends point out to Congress emerging as the leading party, the BJP is hoping to cross the half way mark.

Catch it live: Karnataka election results live | Congress ahead in over 115 seats in early trends; BJP leading in Bengaluru

Some key constituencies witnessing contests between the state’s political bigwigs will be influential in deciding the outcome of the largely three-way battle-



A lot is at stake for the BJP in the most-watched Shiggaon constituency in the Haveri district, the foothold of incumbent Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, where he is fighting for a fourth consecutive term against Yasir Ahmed Khan Pathan of the Congress and Sashidhar Channabasappa Yaligar of the JD(S). Mr. Bommai won from Shiggaon in the 2008, 2013, and the 2018 assembly polls; all three times by defeating Congress’ Sayed Azeempeer Khadri.

The Congress changed its candidate last minute in Shiggaon this time, replacing Mohammed Yousuf Savanur, the president of Anjuman-e-Islam Hubballi-Dharwad, with local leader Mr. Pathan following opposition for fielding an “outsider”.


The Varuna constituency in Mysore district is also witnessing a key battle where Congress stalwart and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is eying to bag the seat against the BJP’s Housing Minister V Somanna, and Dr. Bharathi Shankar of the JD(S). The former Chief Minister has not lost in Varuna since 2008 but contested from the Chamundeshwari seat in 2018.

By choosing Mr. Somanna, who belongs to the Lingayat community, the BJP is banking on the substantial number of voters belonging to the community in Varuna to give Mr. Siddaramaiah a fight in the contest. An MLA representing Govindarajanagar in Bengaluru, Mr. Somanna was in the news recently over his reported differences with former Chief Minister B..S. Yediyurappa and his son B.Y. Vijayendra.

The JD(S) has chosen a former BJP legislator from T Narasipu, Dr. Bharathi who belongs to the Scheduled Caste community, with a strategy to split the Dalit vote in Varuna.


Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president DK Shivakumar is eyeing a fresh term in the Kanakapura Assembly constituency in the Ramanagara district. A top Congress leader, believed to be vying for the chief minister’s post this time, Mr Shivakumar is in a direct contest against the BJP’s Vokkaliga strongman and state Revenue Minister R Ashoka.

Also read: Kanakapura Assembly constituency: BJP hopes to divide Vokkaliga votes in this stronghold of KPCC chief


The Hubbali-Dharwad-Central seat will decide the political fate of BJP turncoat and former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, who resigned from the BJP and joined the Congress last minute after being denied a the ticket by the saffron party. The 67-year-old Lingayat leader has won from this constituency six times since 1994. He won all elections on the BJP ticket and is, for the first time contesting elections on the Congress ticket. The constituency is dominated by the Lingayat community and also has sizeable SC and ST population

To give the former Chief Minister a tough fight, Bharatiya Janata Party has chosen senior leader and the party’s State General Secretary Mahesh Tenginakai, who has been associated with the party and its ideological parent RSS for over two decades.


Months before the elections to State Assembly was announced, Channapatna witnessed a few serious skirmishes between JD(S) and BJP workers, pointing to a closely fought election. The town of toys is indeed locked in an engaging battle between former Chief Minister and JD(S) candidate H.D. Kumaraswamy, and former Minister, BJP candidate, and Vokkalikga leader C.P. Yogeshwar.

Also read: Key constituency: An intense political battle unfolding in the toy town as old rivals face off again

Mr. Kumaraswamy defeated Mr. Yogeshwar, a five-time legislator, in 2018 with comparative ease. In this Vokkaliga-dominated constituency, where votes of Muslims, SCs, and OBCs decide the outcome, the Congress has fielded Gangadhara S. from the fishermen community. Women will play an important role with their numbers higher than men.


In another key battle, BJP’s BY Vijayendra, an electoral greenhorn, will hope to conjure a win from the Shikaripura constituency in the Shimoga district, which is considered a stronghold of his father and former CM BS Yediyurappa. The 47-year-old Vijayendra is contesting the constituency his father has represented eight times since 1983. Despite this being his maiden Assembly battle, being the son of the former Chief Minister, election campaigns were not new to him. took on the task of managing crucial byelections in K.R. Pet and Sira Assembly constituencies in 2020 and succeeded in ensuring victory. In the Yediyurappa stronghold, his son is fighting key rival and Independent candidate SP Nagaraja Gowda,who is a Congress rebel. The JD (S), meanwhile has fielded Sudhakar Shetty while G.B. Malatesha is standing for the Congress.


Chittapur has traditionally been a Congress stronghold. Of the 14 general elections and one by-election held in the constituency since 1957, Congress has won 11. Congress National President Mallikarjun Kharge’s son, Priyank Kharge, who is a former minister in the Siddaramaiah government is eying his third term in a row in Chittapur.

The BJP is looking to dethrone the Congress leader in the SC-dominated constituency by feilding history-sheeter Manikanta Rathod, who has 40 pending cases against him in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Telangana, ranging from illegal transportation of Anna Bhagya rice to crimes such as attempt to murder and drugs and narcotics smuggling. The JD(S) has given its ticket to Subhash Chandra Rathore, while AAP leader Jagdish S Sagar is also contesting the seat.


In another battle that is expected to draw a lot of eyeballs, former prime minister HD Deve Gowda’s grandson, Nikhil Kumaraswamy, is eyeing an electoral turnaround in the Ramanagara Assembly constituency, after a loss in the 2019 Assembly polls. However, he is pitted against Congress veteran HA Iqbal Hussain and the BJP’s Gowtham Gowda.


Chikmagalur is also among the key electoral battlegrounds in Karnataka where the BJP is eyeing a win. The saffron party has fielded its national general secretary CT Ravi from this seat, who was talked up as a potential CM candidate by none other than party stalwart KS Eashwarappa. A member of the Lingayat community, Ravi is yet to taste defeat in the Chikmagalur constituency since 2004.

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