Gujarat, Himachal results warning to BJP & Cong in Karnataka
BENGALURU: The Karnataka units of BJP and Congress have taken heart from the results of state elections in Guj arat and Himachal Pradesh, but the outcome also serves as a warning to the two national parties in a state where elections are fast approaching.
In Gujarat, while BJP recorded a historic seventh win, with a tally of more than 150 seats, Congress slipped to its worst-ever performance in the state with its tally falling from 77 in 2017 to less than 20.
Chief minister Basavaraj Bommai was understandably upbeat and said BJP will win in Karnataka. “The win in Guj arat was possible because ofthe pro-incumbency created by Prime Minister Narendra Modi through his principle of good governance,” Bommai said.
“Gujarat and Karnataka are similar in terms of size, population, industrialisation, education and culture. Challenges and the social structure are similar. So, the Gujarat results will have a positive impact on BJP in polls here. We will return to office. ”
However, the downside for BJP has been the outcome in Himachal Pradesh, where it lost to Congress. The message for its Karnataka unit is that the party cannot afford to allow rebellion to continue unchecked. Some 27 BJP rebelswere in the fray in HP, and they are said to have caused BJP’s defeat. BJP is facing a similar situation in several districts in Karnataka, including Belagavi, Ballari and Shivamogga.
“Rebels divided our votes in HP,” admitted N Ravikumar, BJP state general secretary. “We will take this as a lessonfor the Karnataka elections. We will address the issue of dissidence which appears to exist in some districts. ”
Despite the victory in HP, alarm signs are flashing for Congress and it is wary of BJP unleashing an ‘Operation Lotus’ and poaching its MLAs.
“We know a thin majority will not be enough to ensure the stability of our government as BJP will definitely attempt to break our party as it did in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra,” said KPCC working president Saleem Ahmed. “So, we have set a target of winning 150 seats in the 224-member assembly. ”
Siddaramaiah, Congress Legislature Party leader, remained unfazed. He said: “The issues in Gujarat and Karnataka are entirely different. The BJP government in Karnataka is the most corrupt and there is a negative wave against it. Congress is organisationally very strong here. We will win even without any hard work. ”
He reiterated that Congress may have lost in Gujarat because of the tacit understanding between BJP and AAP. “BJP is likely to have a similar understanding with JD(S) here. We will tackle the issue,” he said. But JD(S) functionaries said their party will beat both national parties. “Voters have given both Congress and BJP opportunities. Our appeal is to give us an opportunity to form a government on our own,” said JD(S) functionary KA Tippeswamy.