The Congress party is set for a resounding victory in the southern state of Karnataka, with leads in over 140 seats as of 3:00 pm. The margin between the Congress and the second-placed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is reportedly insurmountable, according to early vote counts.
In a stunning defeat, former Chief Minister of Karnataka Jagadish Shettar, who had defected from the BJP to join the Congress, lost to BJP’s Mahesh Tenginakai by nearly 30,000 votes in the Hubli-Dharwad region of the state. Shettar, a Lingayat leader, had switched parties after being denied a ticket by the BJP, citing ill-treatment by the saffron party.
Shettar’s departure had sparked controversy and attracted attention, as the former six-time MLA had been a stalwart of the BJP. “We had promised him Rajya Sabha membership and we would make him a minister at the Centre. Amit Shah himself spoke to Shettar. I think he made a mistake leaving the party. We wholeheartedly supported him almost every time,” said former BJP Chief Minister Yediyurappa to NDTV when Shettar left the BJP.
The performance of the turncoats, including Shettar, will be under scrutiny as their renewed loyalties had excited many. The results of the Karnataka elections could have significant implications for national politics, as the state is considered a bellwether for the broader mood of the electorate.
As the Congress party looks set to return to power in the state, analysts are already speculating on the impact this could have on the BJP’s national fortunes. The BJP has been in power in Karnataka for more than a decade and was looking to retain its hold on the state in the current elections. However, if early trends hold, the Congress party’s victory could be seen as a significant blow to the BJP’s prospects in the upcoming national polls.