Countdown for Verdict: Congress set to beat BJP

May 11, 2023

With the countdown for the results of the keenly fought Karnataka assembly polls by Saturday evening and almost all the nearly a dozen exit polls predicting the opposition Congress clearly edging out the ruling BJP, it is evident that the grand old party is well on its way to stage a dramatic comeback.

Given the fact, that unlike the pre-poll surveys, the exit polls generally tend to be true, it is obvious that the ruling party is certain to be heading home. Yes, out of the dozen exit polls, at least two predict an absolute majority for the Congress and even the rest – barring one – indicating a defeat for BJP, the writing on the wall is clear.

Assuming the findings of the exit polls hold good when the results are out, it is clear that the aggressive campaigning and clear focus on local issues by KPCC Chief D K Shivakumar and former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah must have paid off for the Congress. If the Congress, is indeed able to secure an absolute majority by crossing the magic figure of 113 in the 224-member assembly, and is perhaps able reach 125 to 130 or even surpass 140, it will be a remarkable feat especially in the face of the determined assault led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, National party president J P Nadda and the State’s own Lingayat strongman Yediyurappa.

Though the ruling BJP has produced as many as four Chief Ministers starting from B S Yediyurappa, D V Sadananda Gowda, Jagadish Shettar and the present Basavaraj Bommai, it has never won an election in the State on its own. BJP cobbled a coalition with JD(S) once and whenever it ruled in the State, it was because of its ill-famous ‘’Operation Kamala’’ of engineering defections from its rivals Congress or JD(S) by offering money, power or even promises of immunity from probes and then getting the defecting MLAs to contest on its symbol to manufacture majority.

Most of the times, the political grapevine indeed reveals the truth. There is no direct proof of any of the inducements and, more often than not, the inference is based on conjecture or claims aired in the media. In any case, is it reasonably possible to produce documentary evidence to prove allegations of corruption, bribes or other irregularities?

Evidently, the BJP and, more particularly Modi-Shah bungled royally in unceremoniously dethroning its tallest local stalwart BSY and installing another of its own yes-man Bommai, who is also a Lingayat in the mistaken assumption that the politically powerful Lingayat community, which holds sway in over 100 assembly constituencies, can be assuaged by the ploy.

Quota Muddle

Bommai, who is not an original Sangh Parivar product and joined the Hindutva-centric BJP from the Janata Dal stable, did try his best to please his Delhi bosses. In fact, he went out of the way in espousing the Hindutva agenda in all the government’s dealings and was second to none in singing the praises of Modi-Shah at every opportunity and devoutly followed all the Sangh Parivar policies from anti-minority (read Muslims and even Christians), hijab-halal, Gau Mata and, yes, proposing to build a Ram Mandir in Ramanagara on the lines of the Mandir under construction in Ayodhya. If that by itself was not enough, he even sought to tweak the reservation policy and went out of the way to please the Dalits by increasing the quota for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, sought to please the two dominant communities of Vokkaligas and Lingayats and tried to marginalize the Muslims by removing the quota benefits granted to the community and placing it – rather some of the people among the Economical Weaker Sections on the ground that religion-based reservation was unconstitutional. The move, however, is now struck in the Supreme Court and if the BJP loses power, might be completely thrown out.

40% Commission Sarakara

The Congress resurgence, assuming the findings of the Exit Polls prove correct, definitely suggests that the ‘’illegal’’ BJP rule faced strong anti-incumbency mood as the people were obviously convinced by the various corruption scams, especially the 40% commission allegation leveled by the State Contractors Association and subsequently repeated by several contractors with at least two committing suicides, the resignation of BJP’s prominent Kuruba face and former State President K S Eashwarappa, the resignation of minister Ramesh Jarkiholi over the Sex Video CD scandal and the more recent arrest of BJP’s MLA and KSDL Chairman Virupakshappa Madal and his son and the seizure of overs Rs 8 crore in cash, the filing of a criminal case against another MLA from Mudigere Kumaraswamy to name some of the more notorious cases.

Despite his pre-eminent stature and obvious mass appeal among the people, Modi’s failure to respond or take action against the corruption scandals, particularly the 40% commission complaint that was directly sent to his office in sharp contrast to his vicious attack against the previous Siddaramaiah regime of Congress as being a 20% commission rule in the run up to the 2018 assembly polls, did not help matters. Besides, Modi-Shah duo was evidently aware of the unpopularity of Bommai and sought to distance from the Chief Minister in the final phase of campaign during the Prime Minister’s roadshows. They even involved Yediyurappa in the campaigning and were very effusive in their praises of the Lingayat stalwart, who incidentally was accommodated earlier in the party’s highest decision making body, the Central Parliamentary Board, and Shah himself thought it fit to visit the latter’s home for breakfast and exhibited his love for Yediyurappa’s blue-eyed boy, B Y Vijayendra.

The Congress, on the hand stayed focused and somehow managed to iron out the differences among the two key players – DKS and Siddaramaiah – angling for the coveted post in the event of the victory. The newly elected AICC Chief Mallikarjuna Kharge, who hails from Kalaburgi district and belongs to the Dalit community, along with Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and even Sonia Gandhi lent their presence to boost the party’s electioneering efforts.

Congress Guarantees

To top it all, the 5 Congress Guarantees – Gruhalakshmi, Gruhajyoti, Yuva Nidhi, Anna Bhagya and Bus Savari – all aimed at women, unemployed youth and the poor, which were announced even before the announcement of the poll schedule pre-empted both BJP and JD(S) and virtually made their electoral manifestos redundant. The price rise, unemployment and problems of the poor and middle classes added to BJP’s woes. In a bid to convince the voters of their determination and commitment, the top Congress leadership declared that the government will quit if the promises were not kept. Though the BJP sought to attack Congress over its equating Bajrang Dal with the banned outfit PFI, and promise to ban all such anti-people outfits spewing hatred, and Modi as well as Bommai chanting Hanuman Chalisa to rouse passions, the issue apparently did not help BJP in a big way.

What must have given a big boost to the Congress is the denial of tickets by BJP to two of its prominent Lingayat leaders – Jagadish Shettar, a former CM, and Laxman Savadi, a former DCM- and other top leaders, and their decision to embrace the party. The party enjoyed the benefit of many prominent leaders from JD(S) quitting and joining Congress. The JD(S), despite its stiff contest and posturing, was faced with dissension and had to rely on defectors from Congress or BJP to field candidates in several constituencies. It is evident from the exit polls that the weakening of JD(S) has come as a big plus for Congress.

With the counting of votes on Saturday, one wonders whether the findings of exit polls are indeed correct and if Congress has really managed to stage a dramatic comeback to beat the BJP.





By Gabriel Vaz
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Comment on this article

  • Jane, Mangaluru

    Fri, May 12 2023

    BJP is destined to harvest what it had sown. Attractive offers and promises which were either not fulfilled or quietly withdrawn on some pretext or other or replaced by others which could hardly benefit the target group at whom they were to focus. Foul mouth of people at helm of affairs including that of Modi, Shah, Nadda, Smriti, C T Ravi and the likes created in citizens disrespect for the saffron party . Tall claims, empty/hollow promises, arrogance, unnecessary threats and misuse of power, bias on grounds of religion and affiliation, misuse of judiciary, vigilance, probe agencies to create fear in the minds of citizens specifically at opposition parties was the last nail in its coffin. May be it thought by hook or by crook they will wrest power. All citizens are not idiots or have skeletons in their cupboard to be afraid of 'raids', coercive action but have the guts to see through the dirty game right in its eye. The so called leaders weren't there when people were struggling but come in bandwagon begging for votes knowing fully well that the local government failed to rise to the occasion and is on its way out. Let the leader who ever it be, remember that only if you wipe a tear from the eyes of aggrieved, will they stand by you when you need them. I only wish and hope that the election process is held/concluded transparently and not manipulated to ensure respect to the decision of electorate.

  • Eddison, Kuwait/Mangalore

    Fri, May 12 2023

    What sort of campaign has our PM done in Karnataka? Other than being a cry baby, and waving his hands around nothing else. The news channels followed him but neither the PM told nor the media asked what BJP did in Karnataka for last 4 years in power. He had nothing to say rather than cry about him self like a school going boy. BJP fought this election without a proper agenda and congress made them play on their turf. This time it was Karnataka's pride vs Gujrathis. The day PM addressed Lord Hanuman as Bajrangbali instead of Anjaneya, most people of Karnataka stopped connecting to him. Again the only left out group during Congress government formation will be our South Kanara people who are still living in fool's paradise by voting for BJP.

  • PeterDsouza, Mulki,NewYork,USA.

    Thu, May 11 2023

    There is a big sigh of relief for the people of Karnataka after the prediction of congress rule by most of the exit polls. I am sure there will be good administration, peace and prosperity .Let the glory of Karnataka be back again!

  • Rehan, Sullia/Mangalore

    Thu, May 11 2023

    Okay Good news at last. We have waited for 5 long years. As thankful gestures, First thing Congress has to do in Karnataka as promised is, Immediately Ban 'Kerala story' movie .Ban Bajrang Dal . Reinstate Free Haj travel for poor minorities. Release innocents arrested by NIA on basis of suspicion. Only then we can call it Ramrajya!

  • Rathnakar A, Shirva

    Thu, May 11 2023

    Mintose kaao ! Yeh Sab bhakwass😁

  • krishna bhattt, MANGALURU

    Thu, May 11 2023

    Congress formation of Govt is only day dream. There is fight for leadership in state politics , DKC is out of jail on bail, his cases investigation going on, Rahul Gandhi is in footpath after Gujarat court verdict, with ousted MP and without Govt Bungalow. anytime these goondas can be arrested and sent to Tihar jail again.

  • nitin, mangalore

    Thu, May 11 2023

    Ruling Party is still yet to digest that the party will not secure the majority even after all possible leaders running on the soil of Karnataka . They will need a week more to realize this fact. 40% commission courtesy Mr Eshwarappa Communal agenda Quota gamble are the THREE nails

  • prem, moodbidri

    Thu, May 11 2023

    Not sure if Congress can get clear majority. But, it seems, BJP will not cross 110 seats. So, hung assembly is expected. Again JDS may have to play role of a king maker! But, one this is sure... Modi failed miserably even after taking God's name.& his magic is faded !

  • william, Mangalore

    Thu, May 11 2023

    Most probably this comes true. We can expect real ramarajya in karnataka.

  • KP, Bhatkal

    Thu, May 11 2023

    Writing on the wall is clear that until and unless prediction cant be clear before results announced on may 13. Writing an article is easy based on exit polls.

  • Rajan, Mangalore

    Thu, May 11 2023

    What is clear is in enlightened/ literate states BJP does poorly -- -- We can also gauge by the low level of intelligence in campaign rhetoric -- only in cow belt -- hindi speaking -- + literacy low -- bjp does well -- or first time when they promise the moon -- --second time thru other inducements -- third failures are exposed --and lose-- BORROWING FROM BOND a dialogue --- “Mr Bond, they have a saying in Chicago: 'Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action'.” ― Ian Fleming, Goldfinger --

  • Roshan, Mangaluru

    Thu, May 11 2023

    It should have been a Tunami against BJP. So much of policy failures and massive raise in corruption, crime, unemployment, inflation and social unrest, there should have been resounding vote against BJP to bring it to reality and course correction. That is not happening. BJP has still has voters who think everything is changa. Luckily for it, it has employed large no. of social media influencers, media, security agencis and govt officials to dance to its tune. The end result is, there are people to believe the misery, pain and bad state they are in, is a sacrifice for the country, for the growth.

  • Flavian, Mangalore/Kuwait

    Thu, May 11 2023

    Na kavunga na kane dunga ! Kiska Raz hai. Kingdom has abolished years back.

  • Prashanth, Mangalore

    Thu, May 11 2023

    Mr. Vaz, Your prediction may be right for some extent, but as considering whole picture BJP+JDS will form govt and its 100%. JDS Kumar will be CM.

  • Flavian, Mangalore/Kuwait

    Thu, May 11 2023

    Ship of overconfidence is destined to sink. The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid ones are full of over confidence. BJP your bad phase has just begun because of your own ideology and mismanagement establish constitutional norms. What goes up is bound by gravity. Never be over materialistic. If everything man tries to control, then what God will do?

  • Rajeev Shetty., Udupi.

    Thu, May 11 2023

    Yes, Congress is bound to secure more than 140 seats, where as the Jumbla no. 1 party is lucky if they get around 65 seats. Kannadigas are not fools like UP Bhaiyyas, or Bhiharis, or Gujjus, where criminals, uneducated people trust lies, even after proved, what we call them real buddus. Division of society for the sake of destruction of poor, middle class, farmers cannot work in highly educated Kannadigas.

  • CHARLES SALDANHA, Malad -Malwani

    Thu, May 11 2023

    If the exit polls observations are correct then it will be a rebirth to the grand old party and the regional parties may accept it's leadership and form opposition unity to face BJP in 2024.

  • Lokesh Shetty, Mangalore

    Thu, May 11 2023

    Gabriel Mamu, wail till May 13 and then watch the game! Congress will definitely emerge as single largest party with 100-105 sets. But it will be a coalition government of BJP+B team of BJP. Readers, please comment to this post after May 13..have a good day

  • Kedhar, Mangaluru.

    Thu, May 11 2023

    Mr Vaz...You have indeed stuck your neck out. I will too. BJP will be the single largest party. Likely to form Government with JDS.This I say because of Sidaa.Meet you here on the 13th. Congress itself not that sure. You are but 😎

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