Karnataka results: The Congress finally bounced back and is on the verge of registering a thumping victory in Karnataka and managed to stop the winning juggernaut of BJP which yet again failed to make inroads in South. The Congress was winning or leading in 136 of the 224 assembly seats in the state, comfortably over the magic number of 113, and the BJP in 64, according to the latest trends on the Election Commission website.
With a much-needed victory tantalisingly close in the crucial southern state, celebrations broke out at the opposition Congress headquarters in Bengaluru and Delhi as party workers danced to drumbeats and burst firecrackers.
But, what went wrong in BJP's calculations?
The BS Yediyurappa factor: The former CM has been the only face for the BJP in the southern state. Even though Basavaraj Bommai was made the Chief Minister, if pundits are to be believed, replacing BSY was BJP's first blunder. There were also reports that the removal of BSY became crucial for the government after his son BY Vijender's interference in the working of the government caused trouble. MLAs and newly appointed ministers had also complained to the central leadership about this. Eventually, Yediyurappa was removed as CM but was made a star campaigner.
Crackdown on PFI: Another reason that worked against the BJP was the Muslim vote got united against it on the issue of PFI and Bajrang Bali. The vote share in turn consolidated for the Congress.
Basavaraj Bommai-no mass leader: Basavaraj Bommai, who is also from the Lingayat community leader, failed to have a mass base like BSY. This in turn made a dent in the BJP's prospects.
Anti-incumbency factor: Apart from this, the anti-incumbency wave also dominated the Karnataka elections. People wanted change, it directly harmed BJP. The Opposition has been aggressive on the issue of corruption in the state government and the BJP has also not been able to find a precise counter to the allegations. Congress's PayCM campaign against corruption also proved to be very effective.
What worked for Congress?
Party reaped the benefit of making Mallikarjun Kharge the Congress President. Karnataka is his home state which showered its love on the state boy's party.
Regional leaders and local issues have been the most significant plus point of the Congress in this election. The Congress put forward regional leaders in the polls and kept grassroots issues on its agenda, which translated into votes.
Priyanka Gandhi campaigned more than Rahul Gandhi. Priyanka did 35 rallies and road shows. In the southern states, the Congress did a new experiment by fielding Priyanka and presenting her by linking her with Indira Gandhi, and it paid off.
The court verdict against Rahul Gandhi which led to his disqualification also worked for the Congress and translated into sympathy votes.