Congress set to win 136 seats in Karnataka as BJP loses southern stronghold

The Congress victory can boost opposition unity, potentially changing the political landscape ahead of next year’s general election.

Published : May 13, 2023 17:03 IST - 3 MINS READ

Folk artistes perform during the Congress’ celebrations after the party’s decisive lead in the Karnataka Assembly election, in Bengaluru on May 13.

Folk artistes perform during the Congress’ celebrations after the party’s decisive lead in the Karnataka Assembly election, in Bengaluru on May 13. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Congress party is poised for a resounding victory in the Karnataka Assembly election, dealing a massive blow to the BJP. As per the latest Election Commission data, the Congress has won 114 seats and is leading in 22, while the BJP has secured 51 seats and is leading in 13. The Janata Dal (Secular) has won 17 seats and is leading in three. The required majority is 113 seats; the Congress has already achieved a simple majority and is expected to win a total of 136 seats, while the BJP is projected to secure 64.

Karnataka, one of the wealthiest States in the country, witnessed a high-stakes election on May 10, with a record voter turnout of 72.68 per cent. The State has 224 seats in the Assembly, and the full results are expected later in the day. The outcome of this election holds immense significance as it may shape the future political landscape ahead of the general election in 2024.

The Karnataka election results are expected to provide a significant boost to the opposition parties, which are striving to form a united front against the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Congress, in particular, aims to regain its political prominence nationwide after facing defeats in the last two national elections. The victory in Karnataka, following its success in Himachal Pradesh last year, will serve as a morale booster for the Congress as it works towards reviving its electoral fortunes.

During the campaign, the BJP, led by Prime Minister Modi, focused on Hindutva and the party’s promise of development. However, the Congress strategically targeted local issues and highlighted alleged corruption, inflation, and inadequate infrastructure development in the State. It also offered a series of guarantees, including free power, rice subsidies, and financial assistance to unemployed graduates, to win the support of the electorate.

The Congress’ victory can be attributed to its united front against factionalism and anti-incumbency sentiment against the BJP. Furthermore, the party successfully consolidated the Muslim vote, which accounts for nearly 13 per cent of the electorate, and attracted support from various communities by emphasising issues such as the BJP’s neglect of the Lingayat community.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who extensively campaigned in Karnataka along with his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, expressed gratitude to the people of Karnataka for their support. He applauded the party’s campaign, which “focused on love instead of hate” and emphasised the “strength of the poor against crony capitalists”. He stated that the victory in Karnataka marks the closure of the “market of hate” and the opening of the “shops of love.”

The Congress’ triumph in Karnataka not only reinvigorates the party but also sets the stage for upcoming State elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan, where it will face off against the BJP’s formidable election machinery. Moreover, the results indicate a shift in voter sentiment and present a potential challenge to Prime Minister Modi’s bid for a third consecutive term in the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

As the counting of votes continues, the final results will provide a comprehensive picture of the political landscape in Karnataka and its potential impact on national politics.

With inputs from agencies

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