Caste plays an important role in Karnataka politics

  • Caste plays an important factor in Karnataka as in most parts of the country.
  • Lingayats and Vokkaligas accounting for 29% of the population are the most dominant & influential groups of the state.
  • The SC/ST account for 24% of the total population, the Kurubas comprise 8% and Muslims comprise 13%.
  • Karnataka has till date had five chief ministers from the Vokkaliga community, and seven have been Lingayats.



  • There were four CMs from the backward classes while Brahmins managed to hold the top spot in Karnataka twice.
  • Though Lingayats and Vokkaligas belong to OBC group, they are like the forward caste of OBCs (something like Kurmis of Bihar).
  • The present Assembly has 103 MLAs (almost half of total strength) from the two communities, 53 Vokkaligas and 50 Lingayats which is almost 2x of their population size.
  • Acronyms like LIBRA and AHINDA are commonly used terms in Karnataka politics.
  • LIBRA which is Lingayat plus Brahmins are anchor voting segments of BJP (18%).
  • AHINDA which is Alpasankhyataru, Hindulidavaru Mattu Dalitaru (Dalits, Backward Classes & Muslims) have traditionally supported the Congress (56% of population).
  • With Siddaramaiah’s entry in Congress, AHINDA backed the party in 2013 resulting in resounding victory.
  • The Vokkaligas (12%) have backed Deve Gowda’s JD(S).
  • While BJP CM candidate Yeddyurappa is a Lingayat, Deve Gowda and S.M. Krishna are Vokkaligas.
  • CM Siddaramaiah is a Kuruba. All belong to the OBC community.
  • Lingayats dominate in North Karnataka, Hyderabad Karnataka and Old Mumbai region.
  • Vokkaligas are the dominant peasant caste of Old Mysuru.
  • The Lingayats and Upper caste have traditionally voted for the BJP, OBCs, Dalits, Adivasis and Muslims for Congress and Vokkaligas for the JDS.

karnataka 2018.png

Source: CSDS Post Poll Survey 2014 Lok Sabha Elections


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