Modi seeks foothold in southern India with Karnataka state election

Modi seeks foothold in southern India with Karnataka state election

The southern Indian state of Karnataka will vote in its state assembly today—the first of four state elections this year.

Karnataka election

Photo: IPA

The southern Indian state of Karnataka will vote in its state assembly today—the first of four state elections this year.

With the stakes high for both the incumbent Indian National Congress and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, the election has brought widespread attention to the state. Modi sees Karnataka as a potential southern foothold; Congress hopes a win will build momentum for next year’s general election.

While Modi seems to be relying on promises for continued economic and military might, the opposition has, as expected, used unemployment and rising fuel prices to sway voters. Although polls currently forecast no clear outcome, both parties appear to be short of the 113 seats needed for a majority.

If Modi secures a victory today, his party will almost certainly see continued success as Karnataka is one of the only major states held by Congress. However, while winning would signify a major breakthrough, a loss would have less dramatic implications. Barring a crushing defeat, Modi will continue to be the favourite come next year’s election.

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