The BJP won the most seats in the Karnataka Assembly elections but it came second to the Congress on the total number of votes polled.
The BJP also experienced a massive seven percentage erosion of its vote share from the general elections of 2014, when the party won a landslide, powered by a Modi wave.
Significantly, a fall in the BJP’s vote share has benefited the JD(S).
Former prime minister HD Deve Gowda’s party saw its vote share jump seven percentage points since the 2014 polls. Yet, the JD(S) was a poor third on vote share at 18.4 per cent.
The Congress also saw an erosion of its vote share, but the loss was much smaller, at about three percentage points. Overall, the Congress managed to get about 38 per cent of all valid votes polled in the Assembly elections, compared with 36.2 per cent of the BJP and the 18.4 per cent of the JD(S).
However, it may not be completely accurate to compare voting patterns of Lok Sabha elections with Assembly elections. Comparison of vote shares of 2013 and 2018 Assembly elections show that both the BJP and the Congress gained vote share while the JD(S) experienced an erosion.
The Congress vote share rose about 1.4 percentage points — from 36.6 per cent to 38 per cent — while that of the JD(S) fell from 20.2 per cent to 18.4 per cent.
The BJP was affected by the splitting of votes with two smaller parties — BS Yeddyurappa’s Karnataka Janata Pakshe (KJP) and B Sriramulu’s BSR Congress. Both Yeddyurappa and Sriramulu were caught in the sand mining scandal when BJP was in power between 2008 and 2013.
The BJP, on its own, managed to get just 19.8 per cent votes while the KJP got 9.8% of the votes and the BSR got 2.69%. The two smaller parties merged with the BJP a little before 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The sum of vote share of the three parties was 32.4 per cent. Thus, its gain in 2018 is just about 3.8 per cent.