Karnataka state elections: Rahul Gandhi’s Congress knocks out Narendra Modi’s BJP

BENGALURU – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has suffered a major blow as Rahul Gandhi's Congress party has swept the Karnataka state elections.–File photos

BENGALURU – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has suffered a major blow as Rahul Gandhi’s Congress party has swept the Karnataka state elections.

Just a year before the national elections in India, the Congress has ousted the BJP from power in Karnataka, the only south Indian state where the Hindu nationalist party was in power.

The results of the Karnataka Assembly elections, which took place on May 10, show the Congress leading in 122 of the 224 constituencies and BJP leading in 71 constituencies, says a report published in The Indian Express.

Congress leaders DK Shivakumar, Siddaramaiah, Priyank Kharge, Laxman Savadi and Satish Jarkiholi are among the early winners in the Karnataka state elections.

Reacting to the results of the elections for the Karnataka Assembly, Congress said the BJP had “lost” despite the fact that it had declared the state elections “a referendum” on PM Modi.

The southern state of Karnataka has a population of over 60 million people and its capital Bengaluru is India’s tech hub.

BJP leader BS Yediyurappa, a former chief minister, conceded defeat. “Victory and defeat aren’t new to BJP,” he told reporters after the election results poured in. “We will introspect about the party’s setback. I respectfully accept this verdict,” he said.

The BJP had campaigned vigorously in the state. PM Modi himself visited Karnataka to promote his muscular brand of Hindu politics. At one of his rallies, Modi praised an incendiary new film that wildly exaggerates the number of Hindu women converting to Islam and joining the Daesh militant group.

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Modi, who is expected to run again in the 2024 general elections, attempted to woo Karnataka’s Hindu voters by chanting an ode to the monkey god Hanuman.

On the other hand, Congress campaigned on secularism, giveaways of electricity and rice for the poor, and accusations of corruption against the BJP. “The marketplace of hatred has been shut down,” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi told reporters at party headquarters in Delhi.

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According to media reports, Karnataka Education Minister and BJP leader BC Nagesh, who imposed the Hijab ban in the state’s education institutions and called for an economic boycott of Muslims in the state, lost the election in the Tiptur constituency. Nagesh is among several senior leaders of the pro-Hindutva party who lost the elections in their home constituencies.

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