Karnataka State Assembly elections are all set to take place on the 10th of May. State elections provide for a forum that is more immediate than the one furnished by the Centre. This requires the representation to accurately reflect the state's demographic composition. Let us see if this is to be the case with Karnataka.
A total of 3,632 candidates filed nominations for the May 10 Karnataka Assembly elections, as per data from the Election Commission. Of the total candidates, 304 are women and one is from the “others” category.
There were 707 nominations from the BJP, 651 from the Congress, 455 from the JD(S), 373 from the Aam Aadmi Party, 179 from BSP, five each from CPI(M) and NPP. There were 1,007 nominations by registered unrecognized parties and 1,720 by independents.
The average age for a candidate in this round of elections is 43 years - far ahead of the average age of the state itself, which is projected to be 26. Such discrepancy illustrates the actual gap in age-accurate representation in the state. This does not come as a surprise considering that Karnataka is not unique in its inability to place young people in politics. In fact, this is the trend seen in most of India.
The events surrounding these elections continue to fascinate, with the candidature of Shamanur Shivashankarappa, who at 92 years of age, has become the oldest person to ever contest elections for MLA in the state. Contesting from the Indian National Congress, Shivashankarappa is a party veteran, a five-time MLA, and has been a member of the Lok Sabha. Contending from Davanagere South, he has held complete sway for more than 50 years.
On the other end of the spectrum, a few 25-year-olds have become the youngest candidates to contest this election, toeing the line of the minimum age of candidacy itself. Hailing from Bhartiya Janta Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, and Karnataka Rashtra Samiti, they give hope to Karnataka’s 2.1 crore youth who are vying for more authentic representation. These young hopefuls include Sunil Rathod (KRS candidate from Babaleshwar), Rakesh Ingalagi (KRS candidate from Bijapur City), Jaanashekhar K (BSP candidate from Gurmitkal), Bharati (BJP candidate from Chittapur), and Mahammad Kaleem (BSP candidate from Davanagere South).