The two ethnic groups that have controlled Karnataka politics for many years are Lingayat and Vokkaliga. The two groups have always had a noticeable advantage in the state’s power corridors despite being included in the other backward class category under the current reservation system. This is because their voting pattern is less dispersed than that of other castes in this category.
There have been 23 chief ministers in the state to date, and 16 of them have been from the Lingayat and Vokkaliga populations. The illustration depicts the two communities’ dominance in state politics, notably the Lingayat community, which has contributed nine Chief Ministers to the state since its restructuring in 1956. The two communities play a major role in Karnataka Politics.
Since India’s declaration of independence in 1947, there have been two Karnataka states with distinct physical boundaries: the first existed until 1956 as Mysore state. It was a significantly smaller province with Bengaluru as its capital that was restricted to the former Mysore kingdom. It was predominately Vokkaligas and concentrated in the current southern Karnataka.
The Karnataka that came after it, the one that exists now, was founded in 1956 but was known as Mysore until 1973. In accordance with the States Reorganization Act of 1956, the Kannada-speaking regions of five states in the Mysore region were reorganized under a much bigger province, with the Lingayat population being its single largest voter base.
Up to 1956, the state’s first three chief ministers were Vokkaliga Congress leaders. On October 25, 1947, K Chengalaraya Redyy, Mysore’s first CM, took the oath of office. He also served in the Indian Constituent Assembly.
He served as president for four years and five months before being succeeded on March 30, 1952, by Kengal Hanumanthaiah. He was among the loudest advocates for a larger Karnataka state. Kadidal Manjappa, the third CM, served as governor for just 74 days in 1956 after he won the Karnataka Elections, the year the state was reorganized.
The state elected its first CM from a backward caste in 1972. The state of Mysore was renamed as Karnataka in 1973 by Congress’ D Devaraj Urs, a member of the Kshatriya caste. He belonged to the Wodeyar maharajas of Mysore’s Arasu subcaste. He was thus a forward caste leader when he was elected CM. After receiving backward class reservation in 1977, the Arasu community was later removed off the OBC list. In January 2012, they at last received the class 2A reservation for the disadvantaged.
He was the first politician in the state to advocate electoral social engineering, successfully combining OBCs, Dalits, and minorities to win elections. Siddaramaiah eventually adopted same strategy.
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