Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Saturday, reacting to the party’s victory in Karnataka Assembly elections, said that he did not fight a divisive battle, and that “the strength of crony-capitalism was defeated by the power of poor.”
Addressing a press conference in party headquarters in New Delhi, Gandhi said, “the markets of hatred have closed down, and shops of love have opened in Karnataka.”
The BJP lost its only bastion in the south today, with Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai conceding defeat shortly after the Congress leads moved past 130 seats. The BJP is ahead on 60-plus seats and HD Kumaraswamy's JD(S) in over 20 seats.
Conceding defeat, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai told reporters: "In spite of a lot of efforts put in by the Prime Minister and the BJP workers, we have not been able to make the mark. Once the full results come, we will do a detailed analysis... We take this result in our stride to come back in Lok Sabha elections."
In the 2018 elections, the BJP had won 104 seats, the Congress 80 and the JDS 37 in Karnataka. The BJP's BS Yediyurappa formed government but resigned before a majority test. Then, the Congress and the JDS formed a coalition government. The coalition government lasted 14 months after which 16 MLAs switched to the BJP, toppling the government and bringing the BJP back in power.
The Karnataka results is expected to boost the Congress ahead of next year's general elections and the assembly polls in three states later this year. The party is hoping to make a comeback in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. It is also hoping to win back Madhya Pradesh, where its government crashed in 2020 with the defection of Jyotiraditya Scindia and his loyalists.
The results will be crucial for the BJP in terms of next year's national elections. The state accounts for 28 Lok Sabha seats. While the BJP vote share in the assembly polls has not dropped in comparison to 2018, the elections indicate that the party has not been able to make its much-needed breakthrough into the Vokkaliga and the Scheduled Castes and Tribes votes.
The Congress gains have hugely cheered the opposition. "The message from Karnataka is that the 'end' of BJP's negative, communal, corrupt, rich-oriented, anti-women-youth, social-divisive, false propaganda, individualistic politics has begun," tweeted Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav.
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