New Delhi: The Congress on Wednesday got majority in Karnataka and ousted the BJP to form the government in the state after seven years. The BJP suffered a humiliating defeat in the Karnataka Assembly elections as Congress appeared to be well on its way to wresting power on its own. Hit by the exit of former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa and the image of corruption during its tenure in the first government in the south.
The Lingayat community which is the largest at 18 per cent seem to have returned to Congress with Wednesday poll results. Riding the anti-incumbency wave, the Congress wrested its old southern fort by putting up an impressive show and touched the half-way mark of 113.
The Congress on Wednesday consolidated its position and was back to its 1999 position in the state. The party registered a big victory in BJP strongholds and decimated the BJP in coastal Karnataka. Wrested BJP areas like Mumbai-Karnataka, Hyderabad-Karnataka, Central Karnataka were also taken over by the Congress.
OBCs, Dalits, Minorities, Lingayats, Vokkaligas and other castes including Brahmins seems to have also backed the Congress which is a good sign for the party. Many veterans of the party won and some have been MLAs four-six times. Congress also reclaimed many urban cities.
Meanwhile, the BJP decimated in coastal Karnataka, where there is no Yeddyurappa clout. The election results also show that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi failed to make an impact outside his state. Coastal Karnataka, Mumbai-Karnataka, Hyderabad-Karnataka and Central Karnataka districts have voted against the BJP in a big way.
The BJP has been wiped out in its strongholds - Udupi, Mangalore, Karwar, Shimoga, Hubli-Dharwad, Belgaum, Haveri, Davanagere, Tumkur, Mysore and parts of Bangalore. In fact, the BJP is back to its 1994-1999 position in the state.
Most of the BJP ministers have lost including many who have been tainted. Deputy Chief Minister KS Eshwarappa, Power Minister Shobha Karandlaje, Excise Minister MP Renukacharya, Medical Education Minister SA Ramadas, SA Raveendranath and many others have lost. Two of the BJP ministers who were involved in the porn scandal also lost.
The fledgling Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) floated by Yeddyurappa, who achieved his immediate task of damaging BJP, won one seat and could establish leads in only eight seats. Yeddyurappa won from Shikaripura by over 15,000 votes.
The polls results also indicate the end of the road for Yeddyurappa as there is likely to be no role for the party or its chief to play in the government. If the BJP takes him back, he can survive.
The KJP as an independent party has no future. Most of Yeddyurappa's staunch supporters have lost the election.
In the elections five years ago when BJP stormed to power for the first time in a southern state on its own, the party had won 110 seats against Congress' 80 and JD(S) 28. In the 224-member house, 113 seats would be required for majority. Polling was held in 223 segments, with the one in Periyapatna in Mysore district put off to May 28 following death of BJP candidate.
Significantly, KJP has damaged the prospects of the BJP in many constituencies, eating into its votes.
Meanwhile, there is nothing much to cheer about for the JDS as it retained its hold over South Karnataka districts and won three seats in Shimoga. Kumaraswamy's wife Anitha Kumaraswamy lost and it is difficult to survive for the party without power for the next five years.