Ending nine years of political uncertainty, Karnataka’s voters delivered an unambiguous victory for the Congress by voting for stability and against the first ever BJP government marred by corruption charges, scandal and anarchy.
The Congress sailed through effortlessly, romping home with 121 seats while the BJP and the JD (S) stood a joint second with 40 seats each in the 223 seats that went to polls on Sunday. Election at the Periyapattana constituency was countermanded following the death of a BJP candidate.
Despite all the rumblings on ticket distribution and allegations of sale of tickets, its battered image at the Centre with alleged involvement of its ministers in several scams, Congress managed to register a big victory by decimating the BJP in its strongholds in north Karnataka and the coastal belt.
In the old Mysore region, the strength of the Congress, however, was reduced by one seat; it won 40 seats compared to 41 in 2008, while the JD(S) improved its tally from 18 to 30 seats. With Periyapattna yet to go to poll, Congress has an opportunity to regain its numbers from the region.
As many as 19 ministers including Deputy Chief Minister K S Eshwarappa, apart from deputy Speaker Yogesh Bhat and government chief whip Siddu Savadi lost the polls.
Other shock defeats were of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president and chief ministerial aspirant G Parmeshwara and Anitha Kumaraswamy.
The saffron party’s rout was quite evident as it failed to open account in six major districts including its strongholds in Shimoga and Davanagere, besides Mysore, Bangalore rural, and Chamarajangar. Victory continued to be elusive for the BJP in Mandya, Hassan and Chikkaballaur districts.
Even in the 51 reserved constituencies where the BJP in 2008 bagged over 50 per cent seats by winning 27, it managed to get just 8 seats this time as against Congress’ 26, an increase of 9 seats. The JD (S) appeared to be the big gainer, as it increased its tally from just two to 11 seats. The BSR Congress bagged four seats while two went to independents. The results also proved that there was no future for parties floated nursing individual ambitions. Former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa’s tall claims of making an impact on the state polity failed miserably; his party KJP managed to win just six seats while B Sreeramulu’s BSR Congress won only four seats.
Yeddyurappa’s claim that he is the only Lingayat leader also proved a myth with Congress sweeping the Lingayat dominant districts in North Karnataka and Central Karnataka region while the KJP garnered just six seats from these areas out of a total of 117 seats.
Yeddyurappa’s trusted aides including former ministers C M Udasi, Shoba Karandlaje, M P Renukacharya and Sunil Vallyapure were defeated.