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BJP juggernaut restricts Congress to “PPP” party?

May 17, 2018

Karnataka Election Result: BJP's Juggernaut Marches on

Karnataka elections has served as a reminder of how ugly can elections turn out to be in India. Even though BJP emerged as the single largest party with over 100 seats, but it failed to reach the magical figures required to form the government.

The people’s verdict delivered a fractured mandate for a hung assembly in Karnataka. BJP emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats and second largest vote share percentage, followed by the incumbent Congress party, which came second with 78 seats and the largest vote share percentage, while JD(S) came third in term of total seats won with 37 seats and the third largest vote share percentage.

However, when the sun was setting down for a new beginning, Karnataka polls got wide open, as Congress extended an unconditional support to JD(S) to form the government and to keep the BJP at bay. With both factions approaching Governor Vajubhai Vala to stake their claim to form the government, the ball was in Governor’s court till yesterday. Late political drama unfolded yesterday in the evening, as BJP were invited by the Governor of Karnataka to for the new government in Karnataka but they have been given 15 days’ time to pass the floor test to prove their majority in the house.

The Triumphant March Continues

After the conquest of North-east in March, BJP juggernaut reached the shores of Karnataka. Karnataka was one of the closely contested election battles in the country since BJP came to power in 2014. The incumbent Congress had to once again face defeat at the hands of BJP, although, the party gave a good competition this time around but succumbed to the incoming BJP “wave”. The defeat of Congress means the Grand Old Party of India has now stooped to an unprecedented low in the party’s 132 years’ history with its presence in only two states and one union territory. With the victory in Karnataka, the saffron party has edged one step closer to the parties objective of “Congress-mukht Bharat”.

The happy homecoming

In 2013 Karnataka Assembly elections, BJP failed miserably as the party was reduced to 40 seats mirroring JDS’ tally. The defeat came after controversies and corruption charges marred the party’s image in the state during the previous tenure, which saw Karnataka change its Chief Minister three times in the 5 years from 2008 to 2013. BJP was weakened after the resignation of party’s most coveted leader in the Southern India B S Yeddyurappa, the former Chief Minister of Karnataka was accused in the illegal mining scam that rocked the state, he resigned from the office of Chief Minister in 2011, while resigned from the party in 2012. In the same year, the former CM launched his own party the Karnataka Janata Paksha.

The following year BJP realised the magnitude of Yeddyurappa-the Lingayat leader, as the party lost its Lingayat vote base. However, the “prodigal son” returned home before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, while leading the party to a comfortable victory in the state as BJP won 17 out of the 28 Lok Sabha seats. B S Yeddyurappa was the official Chief Ministerial candidate for BJP, the veteran leader had campaigned vigorously across the length and breadth of the state. B S Yeddyurappa was confident that the electorates of the state will shower their blessing on him, this is going to be his third-time as the Chief Minister of Karnataka, the previous two instances were forgetful for the veteran leader.

BJP’s victory in Karnataka elections cannot be credited to only one factor, there have been several key factors that played an instrumental role in the party’s triumph. Following are some of the factors that led BJP to comprehensive win:

  • Once again, the groundwork laid by the party workers and grass-root level leaders has helped the party in securing key votes from the remote areas of the state. Even though the Congress had several high-profile leaders but somehow they failed to connect with the poor and backward households.
  • The extensive poll campaigning by senior leaders including BJP President Amit and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while they were joined by senior ministers and BJP ruled-states’ Chief Ministers in a state-wide campaigning. The last day of campaigning saw a more than 50 senior party leaders including Amit Shah and two Chief Ministers campaigned in 150 constituencies in blitzkrieg manner. Congress who came second in the people’s mandate fought with much vigour against the incoming “BJP Tornado” during the election campaigning, but somehow, their campaigning withered away as controversy surrounding the fake voter ID card seizure marred the party’s hope of retaining power.
  • The “Modi Factor” and, especially Prime Minister’s last minute campaigning once again proved to be catalyst once again. PM Modi’s eloquent oratory skills certainly changed the tide in favor of the party, and the timing could not have been perfect for the party that was losing its ground against the campaigning of Siddaramaiah and Congress supremo Rahul Gandhi.
  • The return of veteran Lingayat leader B S Yeddyurappa in the party fold brought the agitated Lingayat vote base back to BJP, as the vote-base deserted the party after the resignation of leader B S Yeddyurappa. The sizeable 17% population of the Lingayats played a decisive role as always, although Siddaramaiah announced the special religious status to the Lingayats in an attempt to woo away the BJP vote-base but the move boomeranged on the Congress Chief Minister.
  • Anti-incumbency wave against Siddaramaiah, in the last 35-40 years of of state’s electorate history no party has been able to form successive governments without forming any alliance. Certainly, the anti-incumbency played its part in the downfall of Siddaramaiah’s government.

Semi-Final for 2019 Lok Sabha elections?

Modi-Shah duo scalped another Congress state and restricted it to “Punjab-Puducherry-Parivar(PPP)” party. The defeat leaves Congress in shambles with less than a year left before the country goes to poll for electing the next government, it can be an uphill task for the party to pick themselves up from the dearth of defeat and give a formidable challenge to BJP. With the mandate of Karnataka in favor of the party, the saffron party has now formed the government in 23 out of 29 states with or without alliance. The party’s elections team and workers also deserve the credit, as they have worked tirelessly day and night to ensure that the party has emerged victorious elections after elections. As the Prime Minister quoted during his campaigning that this time around it is not just ‘BJP wave’ but a ‘BJP tornado’ that is going to sweep the Congress away, certainly, the BJP tornado hit the shores of Karnataka and toppled the incumbent Congress government.

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