In Karnataka, it’s a battle of ‘guarantees’

In mid-March, a senior Congress leader in Karnataka confessed to this correspondent that the party would be happy even if it won 7 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in the State since this would be a significant improvement over the one seat it won in 2019. Things have changed substantially since then for the Congress, with party insiders now confidently estimating that they will win 12-14 seats, if not more.

This surge of optimism is matched by the findings of the latest survey conducted by, a Kannada news portal that accurately predicted the number of seats the Congress would win in the 2023 Assembly election. According to the survey, conducted in mid-April, the Congress could win 13 to 18 seats, with the BJP-Janata Dal (Secular) alliance winning the rest. Karnataka votes in two phases, on April 26 and May 7, with 14 seats in each phase.

All through April, the Congress set the electoral narrative through a barrage of messaging, focussing on two key issues: its successful implementation of the five guarantees that were proclaimed in the run-up to the Assembly election, and the injustice in the devolution of funds from the Union government. While the impact of the guarantees (especially the free bus travel for women) is tangible, the Congress has also broken down the intricacies of the fiscal-federal relationship to emphasise that taxes collected in Karnataka are not used for development works for the State but diverted to other parts of the country.

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