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.
The Congress is on track to form the government in Karnataka after handing the ruling BJP a crushing defeat in the assembly elections, with the party ahead in at least 135 constituencies as the counting of votes for the 224-member assembly continued on May 13 afternoon.
The win comes almost a year ahead of the big one–the 2024 Lok Sabha election– and three state elections later this year. So, the Congress’ performance will be closely tracked and the focus will be on delivering the promises made in its manifesto.
Conceding defeat, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said, “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,” added the Chief Minister, whose government had faced massive corruption allegations for the better part of two years.
Janata Dal Secular leader HD Kumaraswamy, whose party is leading in 20-plus seats, said, “I am a small party, there is no demand for me…I am hoping for a good development”. The JDS was expected to be a kingmaker in case of hung assembly – a possibility a majority of exit polls had predicted.
In the 2018 elections, the BJP had won 104 seats, the Congress 80 and the JDS 37 in Karnataka.
Congress’s Rahul Gandhi congratulated the people of Karnataka, where his party looks set to form the next government with a massive victory. “The market of hate has been shut, and shops of love have opened,” he told the cheering party workers at the Congress office in New Delhi.
In Karnataka polls, “the power of poor people” have won, he said. “This will be repeated in other states too. The Congress has fought for the issues of the poor,” he added, promising that the party will fulfill the five promises it made in the first cabinet meeting of its government.