BJP retains its percentage of votes but loses 39 seats
Focus to be shift to Telangana
Congress won it big in Karnataka but the BJP was not a washout. It was JD(S) that lost votes and seats. The BJP has lost as many as 39 seats but retained 36 percent of votes. The Congress has improved its seats and votes. It is truly surprising that the BJP has retained its share of votes despite grabbing power from the Congress by encouraging defections, sidelining the Lingayat leader and the most popular former chief minister Yedyurappa, losing some strong Linganyat leaders and horrible corruption that was prevalent in the Bommai government. It is only due to the trouble taken by and the charisma of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who took upon himself the entire responsibility of the campaign in Karnataka that saved the situation. So, the verdict could be described as ‘the Congress won but the BJP did not lose abjectly.’
The Congress is all set to form the next government in Karnataka. Who, among Siddaramaiah and Shiva Kumar, will be the chief minister will be known in a day or two. The BJP’s hopes for retaining power and the JD(S) expectations of playing the kingmaker have been dashed. Out of 224 -seat-Assembly, the Congress has won 136 seats, BJP 65 and the JD(S) 19 and others won four seats. The Congress got 44 per cent, and the BJP got 36 per cent of votes. In 2018, the BJP got 104 seats, the Congress 80 and the JD(S) 37 seats.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has conceded defeat. He said the BJP would organize itself and come back with greater strength.
Karnataka went to polls on the 10th to elect 224 members of Legislative Assembly. In 2018, the BJP won 104 seats compared to 80 seats by the Congress and JD(S) 37.
The verdict of the people in this election is very clearly in favour of the Congress. The people did not give any scope for the BJP to think of Operation Kamal or JD(S) to play smart and get the maximum benefit from its meager numbers in the hung assembly.
The India Today’s exit polls have been proved right. The remaining agencies that undertook the exit polls have been far from the mark.
The BJP played the religion card to the maximum extent. It has annulled the four percent reservations for Muslims and decided to distribute them among the Lingayats and Vokkaligas. Their politics of hijab and other anti-Muslim statements and the slogan of Bangarang bali did not work. It appears as though the people of majority religion have seen through the game of the saffron party to talk about religion during election times and must have thought that not giving a single ticket to Muslims is unfair. The people of Karnataka have proved that the religion card will not work and they would like the State to be secular.
The BJP has proved its strength in Coastal Karnataka and the city of Bengaluru. Areas bordering Maharashtra and Telangana have returned the Congress candidates in a big way. The Congress has improved its position in Old Mysore area. Although K. Taraka Rama Rao has said the Karantaka results would not impact Telangana, the political observers feel that the results would certainly enthuse the Congress leadership both in Hyderabad and Delhi.
It was Prime Minister Narendra Modi rather than Chief Minister Bommai who was seen and heard most. The extraordinary focus by Modi on Karnataka elections and his street shows for three days in Bangaluru did not help the party to keep the number of seats although its percentage of votes remained intact.
Now that the Karnataka is out of the way, both the Congress and the BJP would focus on Telangana. Prime Minister Modi would spare no efforts in his attempts to go for an outright win in Telangana. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi will be addressing in a number of meetings in almost all the districts. A visit by Sonia Gandhi, the person who was solely responsible to the decision of giving Telangana a separate statehood, would help the party. She has to remind the people of Telangana that it was the decision taken by her alone in the face of opposition by senior Congress leaders. It will be a tug of war with the well entrenched TRS, a rejuvenated Congress trying to repeat its Karnataka performance and the BJP with Modi spearheading the campaign.