What was the role of the leadership factor in the Karnataka Assembly elections? Three-fourths of the respondents admitted that they had not attended the election rallies addressed by either Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi during the last 10 days of the campaign (Table 1).
When asked specifically about the influence of the rallies addressed by Mr. Modi on the way they voted, close to two-thirds of the respondents (63%) stated that it did not influence the way they voted. For BJP voters, however, Mr. Modi still mattered. Six of every 10 (61%) respondents who voted for the BJP said Mr. Modi’s campaign speeches influenced the way they voted. The Congress and JD(S) voters were more likely to say that Mr. Modi’s speeches did not influence the way they voted (Table 2).
In the case of the influence of Mr. Gandhi’s speeches on the way they voted, close to seven of every 10 respondents said these speeches had little influence (69%). Six of every 10 Congress voters (59%) too said that his speeches did not influence the way they voted (Table 2).
Of the national leaders of the two parties, Mr. Modi’s speeches had a greater influence over BJP voters as compared to Mr. Gandhi’s influence on Congress voters.
When it came to their preferred chief ministerial candidate, Siddaramaiah was the choice of four of every 10 respondents (39%). Incumbent Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai was favoured by a little less than two of every 10 (18%) and JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy was mentioned by a little over one of every 10 (12%).
In line with the Congress being favoured as the ruling party, there was corresponding support for its leader, Siddaramaiah.
Veena Devi is Professor at the Department of Political Science, Jnana Bharathi Campus, Bangalore University, and Nagesh K.L. teaches in the Department of Pre University Education, Karnataka