Karnataka exhibits a strong trend of throwing out incumbent governments


  • Since 1985, the state has never re-elected the incumbent party.
Year 1985 1989 1994 1999 2004 2008 2013
Chief Minister Janata Party INC Janata Dal (Secular) INC Hung

a. INC (1yr 245 days)

b. JD(S) (1yr 253 days)

c. BJP (7 days)

BJP INC

(Source: http://www.wikipedia.com)

  • Power changes hands at the end of every five years in Karnataka.
  • No chief minister has returned to power in Karnataka since Ramakrishna Hegde in 1985.
  • From 1985 to 1999 the power oscillated between Janata Dal constituents and Congress party.
  • The trend was broken in 2004 when people gave a hung verdict. Congress managed to retain Chief Minister’s chair with support of JD(S).
  • 2004-2008 was a period of instability and the state witnessed 3 Chief Ministerial tenures, one from each party.
  • In 2008, BJP won the state largely on the sympathy wave created due to JDS decision of not honuoring its commitment to coalition and pulling down Yeddyurappa as CM within a week.
  • The Lingayats and upper caste solidly backed BJP (33.86%) which emerged victorious despite getting lesser votes than Congress (34.76%).
  • The state returned to its trend of throwing out incumbent party in 2013 when Congress made a comeback due to split within BJP as Yeddyurappa and Reddy brothers contested independently.
  • Will this trend continue in 2018? If it continues, who will be the beneficiary – BJP or JD(S)?
  • Or will there be a hung assembly situation like in 2004?
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