13 May 2023 12:12 PM GMT


Cong bags Karnataka in decisive win, BJP loses its only southern state


Cong bags Karnataka in decisive win, BJP loses its only southern state

Bengaluru: The Congress returned to power on its own in Karnataka after 10 years, knocking the BJP off its only southern perch on Saturday as voters decisively backed the grand old party desperately seeking electoral revival ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

As the results from the May 10 election rolled in, belying several exit polls that predicted a hung assembly, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai conceded defeat - the second loss for the BJP after Himachal Pradesh in December last year. The BJP, Bommai said, could not make the mark “in spite of a lot of effort put in by everyone, including the prime minister and workers of the party".

Maintaining his winning streak since 1989, Karnataka Congress chief and Vokkaliga strongman D K Shivakumar emerged victorious in the Assembly polls for the eighth consecutive time on Saturday, retaining his Kanakapura seat with a huge margin of 1,22,392 votes.

The chief minister hopeful Shivakumar secured 1,43,023 votes against the 20,631 votes polled by his Janata Dal (Secular) rival B Nagaraju. Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) R Ashoka was in the third place with 19,753 votes.

Shivakumar's victory margin was much higher than in 2018, when he won the seat by 79,909 votes, defeating JD(S) candidate Narayana Gowda.

The Congress was winning or leading in 136 of the 224 assembly seats in the state, comfortably over the magic number of 113, and the BJP in 64, a sharp drop from its tally of 104 in 2018, according to latest trends on the Election Commission website. The JD-S, which had hoped to be kingmaker, was leading in 20 seats, down from 37 last time.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday hailed the party's performance in the Karnataka assembly polls as a victory of love over hate and claimed this will be replicated in other states.

Gandhi said "nafrat ka bazaar" has closed down and "mohabbat ki dukaanein" have opened in the state.

"I thank and congratulate the people of Karnataka, party workers and leaders," Gandhi told a press conference here amid bursting of crackers and cheers by party workers at the party's headquarters.