The Karnataka Assembly elections were always touted to be a litmus test for the in power Indian National Congress which had a mighty Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to counter in a relatively advantageous backyard. While the early inflow of results overwhelmingly predicted a BJP rout, Congress staged a comeback as the day progressed. The JD(S) and the Rahul Gandhi led party forged a quick strong alliance which inspired a turnaround in Karnataka with the results heading towards a hung assembly. As per the latest results BJP which has won 92 seats and are leading on 12 others are still far from the majority mark of 113 seats. Meanwhile, JD(S) has bagged 37 seats and with Congress’ 71 are the front-runners to form the coalition government which will be headed by their Chief Minister candidate HD Kumaraswamy. However, as things stand the ball currently lies in the Governor’s court who will have the final say in the government formation. Let’s take a look at major developments of the Karnataka verdict day:
1) Congress comes back to haunt BJP?
If not single-handedly, the Congress has managed to put BJP on the backfoot bringing a stunning twist to the proceedings in Karnataka. JD(S) leader GT Devegowda who defeated Congress’ Siddaramaiah in Chamundeshwari had hours before making friends with him asserted that people had rejected him because of his attitude. Later in the day, he might have wanted to rethink his words about his rival after a deal was struck looking at the bigger picture. From leading on 120 seats early morning, BJP spectacularly came down languishing at around 100 by the evening. As of now the Congress-JD(S) alliance and the BJP have both stakes their claims for government formation.
2) The Winners and losers
Starting with the Congress, the outgoing Chief Minister Siddaramaiah who contested on two seats – Badami and Chamundeshwari managed to win one while suffered a defeat on the other. He successfully pocketed the Badami seat after defeating B Sriramulu of the BJP. He lost in Chamundeshwari to Janata Dal-Secular candidate GT Deve Gowda. BS Yeddyurappa, the BJP’s prospective Chief Minister in Karnataka, won the Shikaripura seat defeating GB Malatesh of the Congress. The coalition government’s potential CM candidate and JD(S) supremo HD Kumaraswamy registered overwhelming victories in Channapatna and Ramanagara, the two constituencies he contested from. Veteran Congress leader DK Shivakumar won Kanakapura Constituency by 49660 votes.
3) What’s next – Resort politics?
As Congress and JD(S) united against BJP which is the single largest party in the state so far, the only way it can prove majority is if the JD(S) or the Congress splits. BJP might fall short of around 10 seats at the end of the day and will aim to lure some candidates from the opposition to prove majority in the hung assembly. The Congress and the JDS have already forwarded a letter of support to the Governor, who was appointed 4 years back by the centre and it depends on him who he gives the chance to prove mettle. With a few Congres MLAs unhappy with the JDS alliance, things might end up getting settled in lavish resorts. Earlier during the Gujarat elections, the Congress MLAs were sheltered in Karnataka to avoid BJP manipulation. Numerous times the elected representatives have been kept away from influence until trust vote his won and Karnataka which has seen the country’s one of the most dramatic elections is certainly going to see some of that happen in the coming week.