Both the Congress and the BJP are neck-and-neck in the Hyderabad Karnataka region which was carved out of the princely state of Hyderabad. Here too, the BJP has scripted a turnaround and has won 12 seats, up by six seats from the 2013 assembly elections. Even though the Congress has bagged 15 seats, there is little to cheer for the party as it had won 25 seats in the last elections, garnering 34.57 per cent of the vote share. Surprisingly, out of the three seats, JD(S) is leading in the Hyderabad Karnataka region, two were held by Congress.
Moreover, the decision of fielding the controversial Reddy brothers of Bellary seems to have brought rich dividends for the BJP. G Somasekhara Reddy and G Karunakara Reddy have comfortably won Bellary City and Harapanahalli by over 16,155 and 9,647 votes respectively.
The brothers, including, former BJP minister Janardhana Reddy and their aides were among the key accused in the alleged illegal mining racket between 2008 and 2013 when B S Yeddyurappa briefly served as chief minister till 2011. An estimated Rs 16,000 crore worth of iron ore was alleged to have been exported out of India with help from those in the government. During the campaigning, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for handing tickets to the Reddy brothers at a time when he had made “zero corruption” the motto of the government.
What also cannot be ignored is the influence of the substantial Telugu-speaking population since the region borders Andhra Pradesh. The four districts of Bidar, Kalaburagi, Kolar and Ballary have a significant share of almost 30 per cent of Telugu voters. In the aftermath of the TDP exiting the NDA and Chandrababu Naidu blaming Narendra Modi for being insensitive towards the demands and needs of Telugus, there was an apprehension that the community would turn its back on the BJP. But, as results show, there was no such impact for the saffron party.
Another factor at play in the Hyderabad Karnataka region, considered one of the most arid regions in the country, is rural distress and the fact that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah did not increase special grants for Hyderabad Karnataka Regional Development Board (HKRDB) in the Budget, disappointing the farming community.
Among the other significant constituencies, Congress was leading in Bidar, while in Gulbarga (both Dakshin and Rural), the BJP was ahead. In Raichur, BJP’s Shivraj Patil is ahead by 5,000 votes, while the Congress is set to win big in Koppal. Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge’s son Priyank has won from Chittapur constituency by a margin of 4,393 votes.