It has been a roller-coaster for the BJP, Congress all day. The only one who has been sitting comfortably is the JD(S).
Until 11:30 am or noon, it appeared BJP would secure 115-118 seats. By 2 PM it was clear it wouldn’t cross 110 seats. At 4:40 PM they seem to have settled at 104.
For all those who were on TV panels, including me, before noon, the discussion was why and how BJP won the elections in Karnataka. By 2 PM everything changed. BJP won the elections by being the single largest party but chances are Congress and JDS will form the government.
Karnataka elections had not witnessed temple tours until this year. The temple tour by Congress started in Gujarat elections 2017 and it seems to have helped them. However, the temple tour by them in Karnataka didn’t help which says in Karnataka voters had decided who they would vote for irrespective of these temple and mutt tours.
BJP compared to 2013 improved its tally across Karnataka,
- Central Karnataka: +16
- Coastal Karnataka: +15
- Hyderabad Karnataka: +10
- Mumbai Karnataka: +17
- Old Mysuru: +7
BJP improved its tally in pan Karnataka, except Bengaluru Urban. Currently, BBMP is controlled by Congress & JD(S) coalition (even though BJP is the single largest party in BBMP). On the other hand JD(S) has done well in Bengaluru Rural.
The Lingayats form 17% of the electoral. The Lingayats can influence the outcome in nearly 120 seats of the 224 at stake. The minority status for Lingayat was an election issue, yet majority of Lingayats have voted for the BJP. This could be due to the support Karnataka BJP President and CM candidate BS Yedyurappa has amongst the Lingayats. Vokkaligas, as expected stayed with JD(S).
Another key fact is the loss of the three top Lingayat leaders of the Congress. Vinay Kulkarni who spearheaded the Lingayat movement in Karnataka lost the Dharwad Rural seat to the BJP.The other two are Sharan Prakash Patil and Basavaraj Rayaraddi who also lost to the BJP from Sedam and Yelaburga respectively.
Although the BJP fell short, the party sees a big ray of hope as it has considered Karnataka as a gateway to the South. Going by the manner in which the campaign picked up in the last few days, it was clear that it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who did the trick for the BJP.
There was a strong undercurrent that was present following his rallies which not only changed the perception of the voter to a great extent, but also rejuvenated the karyakartas of the party. His campaign from May 1 to May 10 is supposed to have added 40-45 seats. No politician in India’s history had this kind of influence in the recent past. Brand Modi has delivered, again.
JD(S) reduced its tally from 40 to 38 compared to 2013. They lost their seat in Hassan, the strong hold constituency of former Prime Minister Deve Gowda.
With Karnataka throwing up a hung house, the ball is now in the Governor’s court. The precedent and the legalities clearly suggest that the single largest party be invited to form the government first. At the time of writing, it is not clear who will form the government. It is BJP vs Congress + JD(S). Irrespective of who comes to power, they have a long list of things to attend to in the state.
(B.G. Mahesh is the Founder & MD of Oneindia.com. His views are personal. He tweets at @bgmahesh)