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oi-Vicky Nanjappa

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Following the announcement of candidates by the SDPI, a war of words has broken out between the Congress and BJP over who this move will benefit

New Delhi, Jan 13: The Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) last week announced that it would be contesting 100 seats in the Karnataka Assembly elections.

Following this announcement, a war of words broke out between the Congress and the ruling BJP over who this move would benefit. The Congress is of that this would benefit the BJP as it would split the minority votes. The BJP on the other hand says that the Congress usually gets into an arrangement with the SDPI and contests the elections.

How has the SDPI fared in Karnataka elections and which party will benefit from it contesting

The SDPI’s M K Faizy who is the national president said in Bengaluru that his party would contest as an alternate political system in these elections. The party even announced candidates for Dakshina Kannada, Mysuru, Bengaluru, Udupi, Chitradurga among other districts. The party said it would be announcing a second list as it gears up to contest the elections.

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The SDPI and Karnataka elections:

This is not the first time that the SDPI is contesting the elections in Karnataka. It has contested the local body elections also. In 2013, it contested in 23 seats and bagged a vote share of 3.27 per cent.

In 2018, the party pulled out of most seats after announcing candidates. However the vote share went up to 10.50 per cent in the three seats that it fought on. In that election the SDPI ended up with 45,781 votes when compared to the 98,249 votes it had bagged in 2013.

The SDPI although has not won a single assembly seat, has a presence in the local bodies. It won six seats in the 2021 local body polls in Karnataka.

Issues SDPI is banking on:

The communal colour that prevails in Coastal Karnataka is what the SDPI would be banking on this year. Issues such as hijab and halal meat are issues that it would be banking on this year.

A report in The Print said that SDPI would pose a threat to the Congress in Coastal Karnataka and Malnad regions. The Congress has kept a distance from issues such as hijab and this has not helped the Congress’ Muslim vote bank.

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The Congress has instead gone down badly in the coastal region of the state which is largely dominated by the BJP. The Congress managed to bag just three of the 21 seats in 2018, when compared to the 13 it had bagged in 2013.

The SDPI says that the only agenda of the BJP is communal politics. Faizy when quizzed about the BJP benefiting from his party contesting the elections responded by saying that why are the same fears not expressed when it comes to the Congress or Janata Dal (S). We will do our politics, he went on to add.

Story first published: Friday, January 13, 2023, 8:47 [IST]


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