Chandigarh, May 15
The results of the Karnataka Assembly elections has given the much-needed momentum to the entire Opposition camp--not just the Congress but other parties who believe that the recent crushing defeat to the BJP juggernaut has proved that no citadel is completely impregnable and no leader is invincible.
The saffron party’s dramatic downgrade in Karnataka has certainly boosted the morale of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in Maharashtra where party leaders say that the constituents—Shiv Sena (UBT), NCP, and Congress—will soon work out a seat-sharing formula for the 2024 Lok Sabha and the Assembly elections due later in the year.
However, before Maharashtra, Congress will need to defend its three major strongholds—Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh—that will also go to polls this year. Party leaders say that the plans will be afoot as soon as the situation settles down in Karnataka.
While the grand old party is hoping to retain power in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, it is banking on people’s anger in Madhya Pradesh over the way the BJP brought down the Kamal Nath government in 2020, almost the similar way in which it overtook Karnataka despite not getting majority in the 2018 Assembly elections.
Therefore, canKarnataka be an indication for the Lok Sabha elections in 2024?
The fact of the matter is that the BJP did not win any of the four major states—Karnataka, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh—in the 2018 Assembly elections.
The Congress-JD(S) formed the government in Karnataka while in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh the Congress made independent governments.
It is another matter that later the BJP managed to wrest Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh with the help of Congress MLAs.
The interesting part here is that in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, BJP won 25 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka, 24 of the 25 in Rajasthan, nine of the 11 in Chhattisgarh and 28 of the 29 in Madhya Pradesh.
In other words, the trends of Assembly elections cannot be read as a marker for the Lok Sabha elections. Experts say people tend to vote differently in different elections—local bodies, state assembly and the Lok Sabha.
Karnataka—definitely a morale booster for opposition
Though it goes without saying that the Karnataka results are not just a morale booster for Congress but BJP's other rivals planning to take on the well-oiled saffron election machinery led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
Karnataka underlined some very important facts and messages, including that no one is completely infallible.There are fault lines, including in best-oiled political machineries, which if tapped properly can give encouraging results.
Karnataka' results reiterated the power of the local leadership.
Whether Siddaramaiah or DK Shivakumar becomes the chief minister, their success as a team is something that the Congress’ Rajasthan leadership has lot to gain and learn from.
For the BJP, the message before Assembly elections in the remaining three major states is loud and clear, that it needs independent and strong leaders in regions. It cannot depend upon the central leaders in all places, especially South India where the people have shown that its central leadership cannot substitute for the local leadership. At best, it can only augment the local human resources.
By slamming shut the doorway to South India, Karnataka has given the ruling BJP's plans a major setback.
South India accounts for around 130 of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha. They include 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka, 25 in Andhra Pradesh, 17 in Telangana, 39 in Tamil Nadu, 20 in Kerala, and one UT seat of Puducherry.
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