Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has conceded defeat of BJP as the Congress sailed past the halfway mark at 2.30 pm, leading in 136 seats (winning 29 seats). The ruling BJP is leading in 63 seats (winning 13 seats) and H.D. Kumaraswamy’s JD(S) is ahead in 21 seats (winning 4 seats) while others led in 4. Bommai is expected to tender his resignation this evening.
Firmly in the saddle, the Congress is poised to breach arch-rival BJP’s lone southern citadel of Karnataka. In the 224-seat Karnataka Assembly, a party needs to win 113 seats to form the Government which the Congress has already exceeded.
Banking on a high-powered campaign led by Prime Minister Modi, BJP was looking to break a 38-year trend where the ruling party has never returned to power for a second consecutive term.
Bommai told reporters: “In spite of a lot of efforts put in by the PM and BJP workers, we have not been able to make the mark. Once the full results come, we will do a detailed analysis… We take this result in our stride to come back strongly in LS polls.”
For Congress, the results are important in view of Assembly polls in three States by this year end. The party is hoping to make a comeback in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. It is also hoping to win Madhya Pradesh, where its Government collapsed in 2020 with the defection of Jyotiraditya Scindia and his loyalists.
For the BJP, the results are crucial in terms of next year’s Parliamentary elections. Karnataka accounts for 28 LS seats.
While the BJP’s vote share in the Assembly polls has not dropped in comparison to 2018, the elections indicate that the party has not been able to make its much-needed breakthrough into the Vokkaliga and the Scheduled Castes and Tribes votes.
The fight for the CM’s post is expected to come down to KPCC President D.K. Shivakumar and Opposition leader and former CM Siddharamaiah. Notably, the two went out of their way to paint a picture of bonhomie before the polls.
Sources said that as of now, Siddharamaiah seems ahead in the MLA numbers game compared to Shivakumar or any other leader, including AICC President Mallikarjun Kharge (whose name as CM has also been floated by some). Congress’ success has been largely due to focus on local issues and avoiding getting entangled in Hindutva rhetoric. The results seem to be along the lines of the exit polls, which had indicated a BJP loss in Karnataka. Congress has gained around 5 percent in terms of vote share when compared to 2018, winning 43 percent of all votes polled.