Bengaluru: Congress has made a comeback in Karnataka, with its best electoral performance in the State since 1989. As per the results declared by the Election Commission in all the 224 seats, the Congress has won 135 seats, the BJP’s tally has been reduced to 66 and the JD(S) 19. Independents have won two seats and Kalyana Rajya Pragathi Paksha and Sarvodaya Karnataka Paksha have won one seat each.
The saffron party, hoping to break the 34-year-old anti-incumbency jinx in the State, managed to win 66 seats. The people of the State handed the Congress a resounding win that left no scope for any resort politics. With the resounding victory, Karnataka stayed true to its nearly 40-year custom of not bringing back the incumbent Government.
The BJP lost its South bastion as most of the incumbent Ministers and turncoats, who pulled down the Congress-JD(S) Government in 2018, lost their seats. The Congress added 55 seats to its 2018 tally while the BJP was down by 38 seats from its previous Assembly poll tally.
43 percent of total votes
The Congress, which used corruption charges against the State BJP and five guarantees as its main poll plank, secured 43 percent of total votes, a five percent increase from 2018. The BJP held onto its vote share of 36 percent. H.D. Kumaraswamy’s JD(S) was the big loser as its candidates could manage to win mostly in the Old Mysuru region, its traditional stronghold.
The strong regional leadership of the Congress party, Siddharamaiah and D.K. Shivakumar (who agreed to sink their differences), had pleaded with the Central leadership to keep the usual anti-Modi rhetoric at bay as local issues and the party’s five guarantees emerged as a bulwark of the campaign.
Putting up a united front and making corruption a central theme of its campaign coupled with pre-poll guarantees of free power, rice and unemployment dole did the trick for the Congress in defeating the BJP, which was weighed down by anti-incumbency. The Congress even made a huge dent in BJP’s Lingayat votes.
Corruption and BSY sidelining
What worked against the BJP was the ‘40 percent Government’ tag that the Congress used against it from the beginning to highlight its corruption. The slogan gradually gained traction and soon caught the public eye. With the absence of a strong leader and the sidelining of veteran B.S. Yediyurappa (BSY) bringing in Basavaraj Bommai, coupled with the anti-incumbency wave led to BJP’s downfall.
The eclipse of Yediyurappa will linger in the minds of BJP strategists. Modi and Shah could not retrieve the ground lost by Basavaraj Bommai. They did help ensure that a possible rout was restricted to a defeat.
Karnataka has 224 constituencies spanning six regions — Bengaluru, Central, Coastal, Hyderabad-Karnataka, Mumbai-Karnataka, and Southern Karnataka or Old Mysore region. Mumbai-Karnataka and Southern Karnataka are the largest regions of the State. Congress has pledged to implement on the very first day after coming to power its poll guarantees like 200 units of free power to all households (Gruha Jyoti), Rs. 2,000 monthly assistance to the woman head of every family (Gruha Lakshmi), 10 kg of rice free to every member of a BPL household (Anna Bhagya).
Also, Rs. 3,000 every month for graduate youth and Rs. 1,500 for diploma holders (both in the age group of 18-25) for two years (Yuva Nidhi), and free travel for women in public transport buses (Shakti) were promised.
Winners and vote margin Mysuru-Kodagu
|H.D. Kote||Anil Chikkamadu||Congress||84,359||34,939|
|Hunsur||G.D. Harish Gowda||JD(S)||94,666||2,412|
|T. Narasipur||Dr. H.C. Mahadevappa||Congress||77,884||18,619|
|Madikeri||Dr. Manthar Gowda||Congress||84,879||4,402|