BJP loss in Karnataka

The bye-election results from Karnataka – once a key base for the BJP in the South – have come as a deadly blow to the ruling party at the Centre. Clearly, the party that called the shots in the state for many years could be certified to be in retreat mode. Of the three Lok Sabha seats that were up for the bye-polls, the party could win only one, conceding one each to the Congress and the JD-Secular. Prima facie, this is a loud acknowledgement of the people’s support to the post-poll alliance cobbled by these two parties in a surprise alignment of political forces in the state post-poll May this year. No one had expected of the JDS and the Congress to pull together for long, also as the CM post went to the junior partner in the alliance. The Congress that won almost double the number of seats, vis-à-vis JDS’, took the back seat. Now that mass acceptance has come for this alliance, chances are that it will weather odds and carry on with a renewed sense of confidence. Clearly, communal and political equations are to the advantage of the coalition government headed by HD Kumaraswamy.

The BJP, which had ruled the state with warhorse BS Yeddyurappa as chief minister in the past, failed to ably harvest the discontentment arising out of the Congress rule in the last five years, with Siddaramaiah at its head. It, however, succeeded in turning a new leaf by allying with the JDS, and put the BJP on the defensive. The BJP’s defeat in Bellary, where it reigned supreme for the past 14 years, is proof that old equations no more work to the party’s advantage in Karnataka. The muscle-flexing Reddy brothers who called all the shots for the party in the coal belt have proven to be irrelevant in the changing scenario in the state. The signals from Karnataka are a wake-up call to the splintered Opposition forces. The Congress and others having put their best foot forward in Karnataka, out of the blue, had paused for a while after the Kumaraswamy-led ministry was put into the saddle. Bickerings of a minor nature arose often, testing the strength of the alliance, while the plans for formation of a grand alliance against the BJP at the national level faced odds. This is time to move forward. Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu has moved closer to the Congress in recent days. More of such firm steps could be expected in the coming weeks.

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