Bharatiya Janata Party, Karnataka

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Bharatiya Janata Party (Karnataka)
LeaderBasavaraj Bommai
PresidentNalin Kumar Kateel
General SecretaryArun Singh
Founded6 April 1980
(41 years ago)
HeadquartersBJP Bhawan, 11th Cross, Temple Street, Malleshwaram, Bangalore-560003, Karnataka
Colours  Saffron
ECI StatusNational Party
Seats in Lok Sabha
25 / 28
(as of 2021)
Seats in Rajya Sabha
5 / 13
(as of 2020)
Seats in Karnataka Legislative Assembly
121 / 224
(as of 2021)
Seats in Karnataka Legislative Council
37 / 75
(as of 2021)
Election symbol
BJP election symbol.png
Party flag
BJP flag.svg

Bharatiya Janata Party, or simply, BJP is the affiliate of Bharatiya Janata Party for the state of Karnataka. Its head office is situated at the BJP Bhavan, 11th Cross, Temple Street, Malleshwaram, Bengaluru. The party appointed Nalin Kumar Kateel as the president of the BJP Karnataka, until 2023 after B. S. Yediyurappa took oath as the Chief Minister of Karnataka for the fourth time. Till date there has been 4 Chief Ministers who have served Karnataka from the party.

Electoral history[]

BJP contested 110 seats in the January 1983 Karnataka Legislative Assembly election, winning 18 seats and obtained 7.9% of the votes cast across the state.[1][2] Out of its 110 candidates, 71 lost their deposits.[1] Along with the Andhra Pradesh legislative election there same year, this marked the first major performance of the party in southern India.[1] Nine out of the 18 BJP legislators came from the coastal districts.[3] The influence of BJP in Karnataka was marked by its inability to mobilize support in rural areas, where the Janata Dal leader Ramakrishna Hegde and Abdul Nazir Sab (Hegde's Rural Development Minister) had built a strong network of local Janata Dal leaders through the panchayat system.[3] After the 1983 election the BJP offered some outside support to the Hedge government.[3]

The party suffered a set-back in the 1985 Karnataka Legislative Assembly election, only 2 of its 115 candidates were elected.[1] The party obtained 3.7% of the state-wide vote and 100 of its candidates lost their deposits.[1]

The 1980s was characterized by internal strife in the BJP Karnataka unit, as the followers of Ananth Kumar and V. Dhananjay Kumar combatted each other.[4] Ananth Kumar was the secretary of the Karnataka BJP unit 1987–1988.[5] In 1988, trying to overcome the split, B. S. Yediyurappa was chosen as the consensus candidate for the presidency of the BJP Karnataka state unit.[4] BJP contested 119 seats in the 1989 Karnataka Legislative Assembly election, winning four seats and obtaining 4.13% of the votes cast across the state.[6]

BJP obtained 28.8% of the votes in Karnataka in the 1991 Indian general election.[7] This result marked a sharp increase from the 2.5% of the votes that the party had received in the 1989 Indian general election in Karnataka.[8] This time BJP had contested all 28 Lok Sabha seats in the state, winning four.[9] The growth of BJP vote in Karnataka was partially due to the Ram Janmabhoomi campaign and the nationalist discourse of the party.[9]

BJP fielded 223 candidates in the 1994 Karnataka Legislative Assembly election.[6] Ahead of the election the party state unit published a 41-page manifesto, seeking to portray a pragmatic and populist approach of the party with a focus on socio-economic issues rather than communalist discourse.[10] After the 1994 Karnataka Legislative Assembly election, BJP held the role as Leader of Opposition in the assembly for a brief period.[7] The electoral result had an important symbolic meaning for the BJP, who had begun to see Karnataka as its 'gateway' into south India.[8]

By the late 1990s, Karnataka was the sole state in southern India where BJP wasn't a marginal political phenomenon.[10][11] During this period, the anti-reservation stance of BJP in response to the Mandal Commission had attracted support among higher castes in Karnataka, rather than Hindutva nationalism per se.[10] The 1999 split in the Janata Dal offered the BJP the possibility to do inroads among Lingayat voters.[3] However, as of the late 1990s the BJP Karnataka state organization remained weak, with the strength of the party concentrated in urban pockets and a few rural pockets (Coorg and the two coastal districts).[7] In the 1998 Lok Sabha parliamentary election, BJP increased its number of seats in Karnataka from six to 13.[12][13] BJP had contested the election in coalition with Lok Shakti, through which BJP had contested 18 seats and Lok Shakti 10 seats.[14][13] With Lok Shakti's Hegde campaigning for the BJP, the party was somewhat able to portray a more moderate image and tone down its Hindutva profile.[13]

Just before the 1999 Karnataka Legislative Assembly election, the BJP national leadership forced its Karnataka branch into an alliance with the then governing Janata Dal (United).[7][15] Thus the party could not benefit from the anti-incumbency wave against the Janata Dal cabinet.[7] The tie-up with the Janata Dal (United) was unpopular among BJP workers in the state.[16] Following the 1999 Karnataka Legislative Assembly election the party obtained the Leader of Opposition role again.[7]

The more significant breakthrough of BJP as a major actor in Karnataka state politics came in 2004.[7] In the 2004 Karnataka Legislative Assembly election, the party won 71 out of 224 seats.[3] Whilst BJP remained organizationally weak in rural Karnataka, it managed to increase its share of vote by attracting Lingayat voters from parts of northern Karnataka.[7][3] In the 2004 Lok Sabha parliamentary election, BJP won 18 seats from Karnataka.[3] BJP had become the largest party in the state assembly, but could not form a government as the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Congress Party formed a coalition.[7] The JD(S)-Congress coalition, however, suffered internal strife and in 2006 H.D Kumarswami struck a deal with BJP which stipulated that the post of Chief Minister would be given to BJP after a 20-month period.[3] In 2007, when the 20 months had passed, H.D Kumarswami opted to retain the position, sparking outcry and a wave of sympathy towards BJP and B. S. Yediyurappa.[3][17]

The strength of BJP in Karnataka state politics increased significantly between October 2007 and April 2009.[3] Ahead of the 2008 Karnataka Legislative Assembly election, BJP had emerged as the sole viable alternative to the Janata Dal (S) and the Congress Party in Karnataka state politics.[16] Following the formation of the BJP state government in 2008, there was a wave of attacks on Christian churches in Karnataka.[18] The National Commission for Minorities denounced the BJP state governments for inaction in preventing the attacks.[18] Under pressure from the central government, the BJP state government arrested a number of Shri Ram Sena leaders.[18]

In the 2013 Karnataka Legislative Assembly election, the BJP fell to third place in the state behind the Indian National Congress and Janata Dal (Secular). While the INC won a majority in the Legislative Assembly with 122 seats, the BJP fell to 40 seats.

The decision of the Congress state government to grant minority status to the Lingayats prompted the RSS (a move seen by RSS as "an attempt to divide the Hindus") to take a more active role in supporting the BJP in the 2018 state elections.[19] RSS brought in senior leaders from across the country for the state election campaign.[19] Reportedly some 50,000 RSS cadres campaigned for BJP, as well as some 3,000 Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal cadres.[19] RSS mobilization for BJP in the electoral campaign was particularly strong in the coastal districts (a stronghold of RSS, but also an area with sizable Christian and Muslim populations).[19]

Support base[]

For many years, the BJP support base was mainly Brahmin, but in later years expanded to include more Lingayats (as well as some Vokkaligas).[6][16] Most of the party state leadership is either Lingayat or Brahmin.[16] By the 2000s, the party had sought support among other communities, such as the OBCs, Dalits and Vokkaligas, utilizing communal issues as mobilizing factor (albeit with limited success).[16]

Electoral history[]

Legilsative Assembly elections[]

Year Party leader Seats won Change in seats Percentage of votes Vote swing Outcome
1983 B. S. Yediyurappa
18 / 224
Increase 18 7.93% Outside support for JP
1985 B. S. Yediyurappa
2 / 224
Decrease 16 3.88% Decrease 4.05% Opposition
1989 B. S. Yediyurappa
4 / 224
Increase 2 4.14% Increase 0.26% Opposition
1994 B. S. Yediyurappa
40 / 224
Increase 36 16.99% Increase 12.85% Opposition
1999 B. S. Yediyurappa
44 / 224
Increase 4 20.69% Increase 3.70% Opposition
2004 B. S. Yediyurappa
79 / 224
Increase 35 28.33% Increase 7.64% Opposition, later Government
2008 B. S. Yediyurappa
110 / 224
Increase 31 33.86% Increase 5.53% Government
2013 Jagadish Shettar
40 / 224
Decrease 70 19.89% Decrease 13.97% Opposition
2018 B. S. Yediyurappa
104 / 224
Increase 64 36.22% Increase 16.33% Opposition, later Government

Lok Sabha elections[]

Year Party leader Seats won Change in seats
1984 B. S. Yediyurappa
0 / 28
1989 B. S. Yediyurappa
0 / 28
1991 B. S. Yediyurappa
4 / 28
Increase 4
1996 B. S. Yediyurappa
6 / 28
Increase 2
1998 B. S. Yediyurappa
13 / 28
Increase 7
1999 B. S. Yediyurappa
7 / 28
Decrease 6
2004 B. S. Yediyurappa
18 / 28
Increase 11
2009 B. S. Yediyurappa
19 / 28
Increase 1
2014 B. S. Yediyurappa
17 / 28
Decrease 2
2019 B. S. Yediyurappa
25 / 28
Increase 8


S. Mallikarjunaiah was the Vice President of the BJP Karnataka state unit between 1980 and 1986.[20] He again held the post as BJP Karnataka state unit Vice President 1990–1991.[20]

Nalin Kumar Kateel was appointed as the president of the Karnataka state unit of BJP on August 20, 2019.[21] Reportedly the outgoing president B. S. Yediyurappa had favoured Arvind Limbavali for the post, but the National General Secretary (Organisation) of the party B.L. Santosh had favoured Kateel due to his credentials as a RSS loyalist.[21] Soon after taking over as state unit president Kateel named Bhanuprakash and Nirmal Kumar Surana as Vice Presidents of the BJP state unit.[22] The two leaders, seen as part of the 'old guard' of the party, had been ousted from the state leadership in 2016.[22]

List of Chief Ministers[]

No Name Term of Office Tenure

(in years and days)

1 B. S. Yediyurappa 12 November 2007 19 November 2007 7 days Twelfth
30 May 2008 4 August 2011 3 years, 66 days Thirteenth
2 D. V. Sadananda Gowda 5 August 2011 11 July 2012 341 days
3 Jagadish Shettar 12 July 2012 12 May 2013 304 days
(1) B. S. Yediyurappa 17 May 2018 23 May 2018 6 days Fifteenth
26 July 2019 28 July 2021 2 years, 2 days(total 5 years, 81 days)
4 Basavaraj Bommai 28 July 2021 Incumbent 152 days

List of Deputy Chief Ministers[]

No Name Term of Office Tenure

(in years and days)

Chief Minister
1 B. S. Yediyurappa 3 February 2006 8 October 2007 1 year, 247 days H. D. Kumaraswamy
2 K. S. Eshwarappa 12 July 2012 12 May 2013 304 days Jagadish Shettar
R. Ashoka
3 C. N. Ashwath Narayan 20 August 2019 26 July 2021 1 year, 340 days B. S. Yediyurappa
Laxman Savadi
Govind Karjol

List of Presidents[]

No Party leader Period Duration
1 1980-83 3 years
2 B. B. Shivappa 1983-88 5 years
3 B. S. Yediyurappa 1988-91 3 years
4 K.S. Eshwarappa 1993-98 5 years
(3) B. S. Yediyurappa 1998-99 1 year
5 Basavaraj Patil Sedam 2000-03 3 years
6 Ananth Kumar 2003-04 1 year
7 Jagadish Shettar 2004-06 2 years
8 D. V. Sadananda Gowda 2006-10 4 years
(4) K. S. Eshwarappa 2010-12 3 years
9 Pralhad Joshi 2013-16 3 years
(3) B. S. Yediyurappa 2016-19 3 years
10 Nalin Kumar Kateel 2019-Incumbent 2 years


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  22. ^ a b The Hindu. Two old guards back as BJP Karnataka unit vice-presidents
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