Millennium Post

Modi wave in Karnataka

Modi wave in Karnataka
Despite tall claims by the three major parties during Karnataka polls, the final result on Tuesday saw them falling short of the majority mark. While BJP's tally hovered around 105 seats after reaching the halfway mark of 112 in the initial phases of counting, Congress is likely to win 76 seats. The only regional party in the fray, JD(S), may win 39 seats and its support becomes vital for any party to form the government. After intense campaigning and an unprecedented high voter turnout, a fractured mandate means that the political parties still need to battle it out before a government is formed. Congress has accepted defeat and offered its support to JD(S) to form the government. JD(S) has reportedly accepted Congress' support and is ready to form the government with its state chief HD Kumaraswamy ready to become the Chief Minister. But, it is still too early to predict the final shape of the government. BJP which has emerged as the single-largest party is likely to get an invite from the Governor to form the government and prove its majority on the floor of the Assembly. If BJP gets the chance to form the government, it may try to rope in JD(S) to be a part of the government. It may offer the Deputy Chief Minister's post to Kumaraswamy and may further sweeten the deal by offering Cabinet berths for its leaders at the Centre. As political analysts have predicted since the beginning, JD(S) has truly emerged as the kingmaker in the state's politics. While Congress has taken the initiative swiftly by offering to support a JD(S) government, BJP is likely to come up with a more lucrative offer to clinch the deal with the party. So, practically, JD(S) has both the options open and it now needs to decide whether it wants to be a kingmaker by supporting a BJP government or be the king himself by accepting the Congress offer. As BJP president Amit Shah had clarified during the election campaign, a BJP victory in Karnataka would open the gateway to the party's expansion in the remaining Southern states, BJP is close to realising that dream. Though it has not won the majority on its own as it had predicted during the election campaign, the party is in a striking distance from forming the government in the state. With a government in Karnataka, BJP would be in power in 22 out of 29 states in the country and after losing Karnataka, Congress remains in power in Punjab, Puducherry, and Mizoram, which is also scheduled to go to polls later this year. After a series of setbacks in recent Assembly elections, Congress is fast losing the status of being the main opposition party in the country.
The Karnataka election, which was keenly watched by other opposition parties, has underscored the fact that even though BJP has an edge over the opposition, there is no wave in favour of the party. A major factor that helped it score over Congress in Karnataka was the inclusion of BS Yeddyurappa, an important Lingayat leader, and B Sriramulu, a prominent Dalit leader, in its fold. Both the leaders had deserted BJP in the previous state Assembly election in 2013, leading to the defeat of the party. The BJP president has an envious track record of forging an alliance with relevant political forces just before the elections and it is also working tremendously in favour of the party. Its ability to form governments in Bihar, J&K, Manipur, Nagaland, and Meghalaya with the help of regional parties shows that the party does not allow its position of being a national party ruling at the Centre come in the way of negotiating deals with smaller alliance partners. Shah also claims that BJP is in number two position in West Bengal and Odisha. After the Karnataka election, a number of Assembly elections are lined up before the general elections next year. Apart from Congress President Rahul Gandhi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Telugu Desam Party chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, Telangana Rashtra Samithi Chief and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati intend to take on BJP unitedly in the next general elections. These leaders have also initiated a dialogue to work out a common strategy to defeat BJP. Though these leaders have a considerable amount of influence in some of the states, in the absence of a common strategy, their votes are likely to get divided. This is where BJP scores over the opposition.
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