It was a victorious Monday for BJP when it won 12 out of 15 seats in Karnataka by-elections on 9th December 2019. Now, the Yediyurappa government stands stronger than before with a complete majority of 117 members in Karnataka Legislative Assembly and support from one independent MLA. It was a major setback for Congress as it won only 2 seats while JD(S) has fallen miserably with no seat. In the by-polls, one independent candidate has also won. Let us analyze how Congress lost so many seats in the by-polls, whereas it had 12 seats out of these 15 constituencies in the Karnataka Assembly Elections.
People preferred a stable government over a coalition government
BJP won maximum seats in the Karnataka assembly elections 2018. It fell short of the majority as it has 104 seats- 9 less for the majority number 113. The INC and JD(S) formed a coalition government with their sum total of 117 seats. However, it was suspected from the beginning that this government was prone to be unstable, apparent from the reluctance of H. D. Kumaraswamy to form a government with Congress. The BJP became opportunistic and in a major blow to the INC+JDS government, 14 and 3 MLAs of Congress and JDS respectively, rebelled and joined BJP. Disqualification of the MLAs resulted in Karnataka By-elections.
During the by-election campaign, BJP poured more importance on a stable government for Karnataka. As the results suggest, BJP managed to convey voters that the INC and JDS government was formed out of desperation. It was a disrespect of public mandate from them to form a government when BJP was the largest wining party. The results also draw attention to the calculative move of the voters. For the state elections, people are concerned with the candidate contesting the election with little importance to its party. It was in their well being to elect a candidate who is from the ruling party, who can more efficiently solve the troubles faced by them in the respective constituencies.
Poor leadership of INC and JDS
The congress went ahead with the by-elections keeping in mind that the voters will reject the defector MLAs. Somehow, it lacked the leadership skills to convey the message to the voters. K R Pete and Chikkaballapur are the two constituencies where BJP had never won before- The strongholds of JDS. The JDS could not save the K R Pete seat before its rebel MLA. One more reminder of the importance of candidates in a state election. JDS’s future in Karnataka is now in jeopardy; its popularity was already on the decline since the Lok Sabha elections of 2019. In addition to this, the INC leaders seem to hold resignation as the only solution for a defeat. INC Karnataka chief Dinesh Rao and legislative party leader Siddaramaiah have presented their resignation citing poor results of the by-polls. Whereas BJP now has gained some oxygen after the setback of Maharashtra.