Bangalore-based political analyst Sandeep Shastri in The Indian Express:
Many would argue that the Karnataka election in May will be a straight fight between the Congress and BJP. But it would be politically naive to write off the Janata Dal (S) so early in the race.
Traditionally the state has been divided into five regions. The nature of political competition varies across these regions.
# In Mumbai-Karnataka it appears more or less a straight fight between the BJP and Congress. The BJP hopes to build on its 2004 performance here while the Congress is keen to retrieve lost ground. The powerful Lingayat community has considerable influence here.
# The Hyderabad-Karnataka region has traditionally been a Congress citadel. The JD(S) registered spectacular wins here the last time around. This is the region where the BJP is the weakest. While the Lingayat community wields some influence in the region, the Other Backward Castes and the tribals have a sizeable presence.
# The Central Karnataka region will once again largely see a straight fight between the Congress and BJP. The BJP did well in pockets in this region in the last election.
# The Coastal Karnataka region, too, will see the Congress and BJP slugging it out. The relative importance of this region has declined with a reduction in the seats after delimitation.
# The Old Mysore region accounts for the bulk of the seats in the state. The fight here is not triangular but rather between any two of the three major contestants in a mind-boggling array of combinations. Each party has its strong zones of influence here….
If we thus step into the regions we notice the bi-polar nature of the contest which assumes a triangular complexion only when it is extrapolated across the state.
Read the full article here: How many corners in Karnataka?