In a stunning blow to the Congress-JD(S) coalition in Karnataka and an unprecedented wave in favour of the BJP, the ruling parties were reduced to one seats each while the saffron party swept 25 out of the 28 Lok Sabha constituencies in results declared on Thursday.
This is a record in the electoral history of Karnataka, with the BJP getting the highest ever seats and the Congress the lowest. BJP’s vote share of 51.4% is its highest ever, and the highest for any non-Congress party in the history of the State, and the highest since 1984. Apart from Bengaluru Rural and Hassan in south Karnataka, the alliance has drawn a blank even in its bastions of Old Mysore region and Hyderabad-Karnataka.
Among the big losers was the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda in Tumakuru, Congress Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge in Kalaburagi, former Chief Minister M. Veerappa Moily in Chickaballapur, and seven-time MP K.H. Muniyappa in Kolar. Two State Ministers roped in to contest the polls have lost.
In the first phase, all eyes were on the high-profile, emotive contest between Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy’s son K. Nikhil and BJP-backed Independent Sumalatha in Mandya. Ms. Sumalatha won by more than 1.3 lakh votes, becoming the first Independent MP in 54 years from the State.
The electoral debacle of the coalition experiment is widely believed to have implications on the stability of the incumbent Congress-JD(S) coalition in the coming days.
The former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Mr. Kumaraswamy have termed the results “unexpected”.
The ruling combine is expected to hold a meeting on Friday, but the murmurs of dissidence have already started to rise to a crescendo.
Soon after the results, BJP State president B.S. Yeddyurappa demanded the resignation of Mr. Kumaraswamy, saying he lacked popular support.