The Congress on Saturday made a stunning comeback in Karnataka ousting the BJP from its lone southern citadel with a comfortable majority in a morale booster win that will be key for reviving its electoral fortunes ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
The Congress’ decisive victory in the Assembly elections after an aggressive pro-poor campaign spearheaded by mass leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah and KPCC president D K Shivakumar also saw Karnataka continuing with a 38-year-old anti-incumbency trend. The state has never voted an incumbent party to power since 1985.
Siddaramaiah, 75, and Shivakumar, the party’s trouble shooter who won from Kanakapura by over one lakh votes and who turns 61 on Sunday, are both front runners for the chief minister’s post. The Congress has returned to power on its own in Karnataka after 10 years. Siddaramaiah was the chief minister from 2013 to 2018.
Congress’ HD Thammaiah defeated BJP’s CT Ravi in Chikmagalur, by a margin of 5,926 votes.Congress leader Suresh Baabu defeated State Minister and BJP candidate JC Madhu Swamy in Chikkanayakanahall by a margin of 10,042 votes. In Chikkaballapur seat, Congress’ Pradeep Eshwar defeated State Minister and BJP candidate K Sudhakar by a margin of 10,642 votes. Congress’ BZ Zameer Ahmed Khan defeated former Bengaluru Police Commissioner and BJP candidate Bhaskar Rao, by a margin of 53,953 votes, in Chamrajpet.
Chief Minister Basavraj Bommai had conceded defeat as trends showed a massive Congress surge. He said BJP will emerge victorious in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. After the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost the Karnataka Assembly elections, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Saturday tendered his resignation to Governor Thaawar Chand Gehlot.
“I have tendered my resignation and it has been accepted,” Bommai told reporters. Bommai won with a margin of 35,978 votes from Shiggaon constituency but many of his ministerial colleagues lost.
“…I take responsibility for this debacle. There are multiple reasons for this. We will find out all the reasons and strengthen the party once again for Parliament elections..,” he said. With the Congress’ emphatic victory in the Karnataka elections on Saturday, ousting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from power in the only southern state ruled by it, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge said the election results marked a “BJP-free South India”.
“We are preparing for all the upcoming Lok Sabha elections,” BJP MP Gopal Shetty said. We are working with our party members to address the state’s vote deficit.”
“This is not the first time the Congress has had a majority of seats in Karnataka; previously, it had a majority in the year 2018, after which the BJP did some manipulation and people started voting for substantive issues,” veteran Congress leader Ratnakar Mahajan said. The BJP used its one strong candidate, Prime Minister Modi, in all possible rallies ahead of the elections, but they are still losing votes.
“The BJP gave a lot of money to people during poll campaigning; sarees were distributed to many women; some also denied and threw away that money and sarees given to them,” said Congress leader Hussain Dalwai, “but people are voting for Congress instead of the money offered to people by the BJP.”
Congress leader Charulata Tokas said, “Congress is bringing about the change in democracy because individuals have lost hope as they could witness PM Modi giving false promises from the beginning but could not fulfill any of them, due to which people are moving to vote Congress in the hope of better work.”