Karnataka assembly election tomorrow: Who are the key candidates?

In Karnataka, stakes are high for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and higher still for the Congress as people vote to elect a new government in the state on Wednesday following an intense and often bitter campaign.

If the Congress appeared to take the fight to the rival by raising the pitch over alleged corruption under the BJP government headed first by B S Yediyurappa and then by Basavaraj Bommai with its high decibel “40 per cent sarkara” plank, the incumbent rode the
“double engine” narrative to seek another term to push Karnataka higher up the development chart.

The strong presence of the Janata Dal (Secular) in the region has been a key reason behind the state election often throwing up a hung verdict.

A high-decibel campaign for the May 10 Karnataka poll ended on Monday evening. Voting for the 224-member legislative assembly will take place from 7 am to 6 pm on Wednesday.

Major political parties

Bharatiya Janata Party

Indian National Congress

Janata Dal (Secular)

Other parties

Aam Aadmi Party

Bahujan Samaj Party

Communist Party of India (Marxist)

National People’s Party

Communist Party of India

Nationalist Congress Party

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen

Social Democratic Party of India

Uttama Prajakeeya Party

Karnataka Rashtra Samithi

Sarvodaya Karnataka Party

*(No major pre-poll alliance till date)

Key candidates:


Siddaramaiah from Varuna

DK Shivakumar from Kanakapura

G Parameshwara from Koratagere

M B Batil from Babaleswar

Priyank Kharge from Chittapur

Eshwar Khandre from Bhalki

Jagadish Shettar

Dinesh Gundu Rao from Gandhi Nagar

Vinay Kulkarni from Dharwad

Baburao Chinchansur from Gurmitkal

Bheemasen B Chimmannakatti from Badami

Hullappa Y Meti from Bagalkot

P Ravikumar from Mandya

AR Krishna Murthy from Kollegal


Basavaraj Bommai from Shiggaon

B Y Vijayendra from Shikaripura

R Ashoka from Kanakapura and Padmanabhanagar

V Somanna from Varuna and Chamrajanagar

C T Ravi from Chikmagalur

Basanagouda Patil Yatnal from Bijapur

Ramesh Jarkhiholi from Gokak

Varthur Prakash from Kolar

LC Nagaraj from Madhugiri

Bhaskara Rao from Chamrajpet


HD Kumaraswamy from Channapatna

Nikhil Kumaraswamy from Ramanagara

GT Devegowda from Chamundeshwari

Harish Gowda from Hunsur

Nagaraj from Gubbi

CMR Shrinath from King

Who are key candidates

1. Basavaraj Bommai (BJP) – Shiggaon: The incumbent chief minister, 63, is seeking re-election from Shiggaon, from where he has been an MLA three times since the 2008 Karnataka assembly election. Bommai is contesting against Congress candidate Mohammed Yousuf Savanur. Bommai won in Shiggaon in the 2018 Karnataka assembly poll by 9,260 votes. Bommai took over as chief minister in July 2021 after BS Yediyurappa resigned. Bommai is considered a confidant of Yediyurappa and was handpicked by him to be his successor.

Bommai comes from a political family, as his father, SR Bommai, was a prominent politician and former chief minister of Karnataka. He entered politics in the early 1990s and has since played a significant role in the BJP’s operations in the state.

Notably, he served as the minister of water resources and cooperation in the Karnataka government.

2. Siddaramaiah (Congress) – Varuna: Siddaramaiah, 75, an eight-time MLA, had earlier won twice from Varuna, and went on to become the Leader of Opposition after winning from here in 2008, and then became chief minister after the 2013 Karnataka assembly election. In the 2023 poll, Siddaramaiah is contesting against BJP’s V Somanna and former legislator Bharathi Shankar of JD(S). Before Varuna seat, Siddaramaiah had won from Chamundeshwari and Badami seats.

Siddaramaiah began his political journey in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when he was associated with the Janata Party and later joined the Congress. He has held several key positions in the state government, including minister of finance, deputy chief minister, besides chief minister.

During his tenure as chief minister, he implemented several welfare programmes and policies aimed at addressing social issues, such as the Anna Bhagya scheme, which aimed to provide subsidized food grains to the economically disadvantaged sections of society. He also focused on infrastructure development, education, and agriculture.

3. DK Shivakumar (Congress) – Kanakapura: DK Shivakumar, 60, is the official candidate from Kanakapura, the constituency that has elected him in the last three Karnataka assembly elections in 2008, 2013 and 2018. Shivakumar is contesting against the ruling BJP’s Vokkaliga face R Ashoka from Kanakapura. In his affidavit, Shivakumar has 19 criminal cases against him including 10 that relate to holding protests against the government.

Shivakumar began his political career in the early 1980s and quickly rose through the ranks of the Congress in Karnataka. He has been elected as an MLA multiple times from the Kanakapura constituency. He has also served as a minister in the Karnataka government on several occasions. One of the notable positions held by Shivakumar was that of the minister of energy. He played a significant role in addressing power-related issues and initiatives in the state. He has also held portfolios such as the minister of major and medium irrigation and the minister of urban development.

Shivakumar has been known to be a vocal leader, often expressing his opinions on various political and social issues. He has played a key role in mobilising support for the Congress and has been involved in grassroots-level politics.

4. HD Kumaraswamy (JDS) – Channapatna: HD Kumaraswamy is contesting from Channapatna segment in the 2023 assembly poll. Kumaraswamy, who represents Channapatna, is set to take on BJP leader CP Yogeshwara. Channapatna was represented by Yogeshwara in 1999. In the 2018 election, Yogeshwara contesting as a BJP candidate was defeated by Kumaraswamy. In the 2018 Karnataka assembly elections, JD(S) formed an alliance with the Congress and Kumaraswamy became the chief minister. However, he resigned after 14 months following a revolt by his own party MLAs.

Kumaraswamy, the son of former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, entered politics in the late 1990s and has since played a significant role in the JDS. He has also served as the chief minister of Karnataka on two occasions.

In 2006, Kumaraswamy became the 18th chief minister of Karnataka, leading a coalition government between the JDS and the Congress.

Kumaraswamy has been vocal about regional issues and has played a crucial role in shaping the party’s stance on various policy matters.

5. Nikhil Kumaraswamy (JDS) – Ramanagara: Nikhil Kumaraswamy, son of HD Kumaraswamy and grandson of former prime minister and JD(S) chief Deve Gowda, will contest the 2023 Karnataka assembly election from the Ramanagara constituency. Nikhil has contested Mandya’s seat in the 2019 Lok Sabha election but lost to BJP-backed Independent candidate Sumalatha Ambareesh.

6. CT Ravi (BJP) – Chikmagalur: CT Ravi is one of the prominent faces of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Karnataka who has risen through the ranks to become the national general secretary. He is a four-time MLA from the Chikmagalur assembly constituency and is contesting from his bastion in the 2023 Karnataka election. CT Ravi is known for his aggressive style of politics and has a strong support base in the coastal districts of Karnataka.

7. Jagadish Shettar (Congress) – Hubballi-Dharwad-Central: Jagadish Shettar, a former chief minister, who left the Bharatiya Janata Paty after being denied a ticket from Hubballi-Dharwad-Central, is contesting from the same constituency in the 2023 Karnataka assembly election after recently joining the Congress. His rival, BJP state general secretary Mahesh Tenginkai, has also submitted his nomination from the same seat.

Shettar was one of the BJP’s prominent leaders in Karnataka and also a face of the Lingayat community in the Hubballi Dharwad region. His father, SS Shettar, was Hubballi – Dharwad’s mayor from the then Jan Sangh party and also served as a councilor in the city municipal corporation.

In 1994, Shetter won as a BJP MLA for the first time and continued to secure key positions in the party. He served as the 15th chief minister of Karnataka between 2012 and 2013, when BS Yediyurappa had to step away as the CM. Shettar was also the Speaker of the Karnataka legislative assembly in 2008 and later he was made a minister in then BJP chief ministers Yediyurappa and Sadananda Gowda’s cabinets.

8. G Parameshwara (Congress) – Koratagere: G Parameshwara, a senior Congress leader, is contesting from his traditional constituency of Koratagere in Tumakuru district in the 2023 Karnataka assembly election. Considered the Congress’s representative for Dalits in Karnataka, G Parameshwara is a veteran politician who has been running in elections since 1989 and has previously held the position of deputy CM in the state. In addition, Parameshwara is known for his two consecutive terms as the longest-serving president of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC).

9. V Somanna (BJP) – Varuna and Chamrajanagar: The Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded seasoned V Somanna from two seats – Varuna and Chamrajanagar. Somanna, the BJP’s Lingayat strongman, will take on Congress’s Siddaramaiah in the Varuna segment in the 2023 Karnataka assembly election. Neither Siddaramaiah nor Somanna had not contested from Varuna last time. Siddaramaiah had won from the constituency in 2008 and 2013, but opted to contest from Badami and Chamundeshwari in 2008, winning only in Badami. In the 2018 Karnataka poll, Somanna had won from Govindaraja Nagar, his pocketborough in Bengaluru city.

10. R Ashoka (BJP) – Kanakapura: Revenue minister R Ashoka of the BJP will take on DK Shivakumar, who is a seven-time MLA, in Kanakapura in the 2023 Karnataka assembly election. Ashoka, who belongs to the Vokkaliga community, is considered a close aide of former chief minister BS Yediyurappa. Ashok is also contesting from Padmanabhanagar of Bengaluru.

Source- Hindustan Times.

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