Indian National Congress stormed back to power in Karnataka with a clear majority (wins plus leads) in 136 out of 224 Assembly constituencies. A mix of high anti-incumbency, united front put up by the State leadership, the numerous welfarist guarnteesaimed at the poor and multiple visits and campaigns by national leaders seem to have worked the magic for the grand old party. 

Congress performed well in the majority of the six major regions — Kalyana, Kittur, Coastal, Central Karnataka, Bengaluru region, and Old Mysuru region. KPCC President DK Shivakumar retained Kanakapura by a record margin, Siddaramaih won in Varuna, and Shamnur Shivashankrappa won in Davangere among various others across constituencies. Turncoats from JDS and BJP who joined Congress — Laxman Savdi, Gubbi Srinivas, Shivlinge Gowda — too scored victory. 

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The newly elected legislators of Congress from across the State have been called to Bengaluru and the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting will be held on Sunday morning. Congress President Mallikarjuna Kharge, who hails fromthe State, said the party will depute observers for the election of new CLP leaders. 

“It is a huge victory for Congress Party. The people of Karnataka wanted a change as they were fed up with the corrupt BJP government and anti-incumbency was strong. Strong campaigning done by Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, and Mallikarjun Kharge helped us achieve victory, and the five guarantees too helped the party,” Siddaramaiah said. 

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, “We have contested and won the Karnataka polls with love, not hate. The strength of poor people defeated the power of crony capitalists. This will happen in all States.” 

Lotus wilts

The BJP, which won a mere 65 seats, sounded sombre after the devastating loss. Outgoing Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the party will examine reasons for the loss. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, acknowledged his party’s defeat in the State. “Congratulations to the Congress Party for their victory in the Karnataka Assembly polls. My best wishes to them in fulfilling people’s aspirations,” he tweeted. 

JDS’ loss of vote share

JDS, which was hoping to become the Kingmaker once again, faced a rout with the party managing to win just 20 seats mainly from its Old Mysuru stronghold.

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Bommai is likely to meet the Governor Thawar Chand Gehlot to submit his government’s resignation. He is likely to be asked to continue in a caretaker capacity till a new government is sworn-in. While BJP’s vote share approximately remained the same as in 2018 at around 36 per cent, Congress managed to mop up an additional five per cent vote share from JDS taking it to 43.2 per cent.