The Kar-Nataka Story

Finally, after days of suspense, the Congress party has worked out a solution to the leadership fight in Karnataka. It’s an irony that the grand old party struggles more in a victory than defeat. Tussle for the CMs chair cost the party dearly in Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP successfully snatched away power. In Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, the same factor has been a cause constant worry for the Congress too.

However, Karnataka victory has come like a breath of fresh air for the beleaguered Congress. Though, there was a simmering discontentment against the Basavaraj Bommai led BJP government, very few had imagined that in a straight fight, the Congress would vanquish the mighty BJP so convincingly. In the last six months, despite its electoral debacles in states after states since 2014, the Congress has managed to defeat the saffron party twice- in Himachal Pradesh and now Karnataka.

Many believe, corruption was the main reason for the Bommai government’s ouster. However, common voters are more concerned with price rise and unemployment. It should not be forgotten that Covid has hugely impacted lives and lifestyles. Elections will not be the same as it used to be before the pandemic.

Though, it’s viewed that the Karnataka verdict is likely to see the revival of the Congress, revival is not going to be easy unless the party puts its own house in order. With Mallikarjun Kharge- a Non Gandhi Family member-as the President, the Congress has begun doing a course correction. However, it still has much to do, particularly bring a sense of discipline within the ranks at various levels. Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra has helped the party reach out to the people in a meaningful way. Post the Yatra, Rahul is perceived to be a more serious and mature leader.

No doubt the Karnataka results have boosted the confidence of the Congress workers. The victory too has been hailed by regional satraps. As West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said, “I salute the people of Karnataka and all the voters. I also salute the winners for their victory… In an era of coalition politics, the support of regional players is critical.

On the other hand, for the BJP, electoral setback in a major state like Karnataka couldn’t have come at a more improper time. With less than a year to go before the general elections 2024, the BJP has lost its gateway to south. As it continues to struggle in the eastern states, in 2024, the saffron party will try to score heavily, in the western states (Gujarat, Maharashtra), northern region (Punjab, Haryana, Delhi) as well as the Hindi heartland (MP, UP, Bihar, Chhattisgarh) for a third successive term at the centre.

In such a scenario- the outcomes of the states going to polls this year- Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram – are going to be critical both for the BJP and Congress.

What gives the BJP a distinct edge is the immense popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is arguably the tallest leader in India today. Under him, the country has witnessed progress in different sectors. Globally too India is acknowledged as a major player.

It’s the Modi factor that ensured landslide victories for the BJP led NDA in 2014 and 2019 general elections. A weakened Congress and also lack of an opposition unity helped the BJP not only in the general elections but in most of the state polls, as well.

To a large extent, electoral success or failure depends on the perception of the people. Rest assured of an interesting game of politics in the months to come.

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