Bengaluru: The BJP's stunning performance and wresting of power from the Congress in Karnataka evoked sharp reactions from political circles across the country.
While jubilant BJP leaders hailed the party's win as historic, a recalcitrant Congress conceded defeat after switching to a 'reluctance mode' until the picture became clear after a tight race.
While party leaders made statements on expected lines, historian and columnist Ramachandra Guha said the results should question the credibility of Congress president Rahul Gandhi. “If these trends hold, the Karnataka elections are a major humiliation for the chief minister. But they are also a serious setback to his party president. But while the voters have thrown out Siddaramaiah, will a single Congress leader pose a sharp question to Rahul Gandhi?,” he tweeted.
However, the Congress leaders are in no mood to question Rahul Gandhi. In one of the first reactions from party leaders, Karnataka power minister DK Shivkumar said the Congress chief did his best. “We, the local leadership, should have encashed it in a proper way,” he said.
Union minister and former Karnataka chief minister Sadananda Gowda was the first to express confidence of a clear majority for the BJP. Even before the party surged pat the 100 mark, he said the BJP would form the government on its own and wouldn't need any alliance.
"Lingayat card was a mistake. We never managed caste equations well," senior Congress leader Veerappa Moily was quoted as saying by a TV channel. The Congress government had proposed to accord minority religious status to the Lingayat community ahead of the polls. However, the results showed that the community, a traditional vote base of the BJP, stood with the saffron party this time as well.
BJP Karnataka in-charge and union minister Prakash Javadekar said the results proved that the people of Karnataka wanted good governance. “This is a big victory for the party. Congress is losing state after state and we are winning state after state,” he said.
Chattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh took a dig at the Congress saying, “Now, the nation will see a find-Congress campaign, but no one knows where the party would be.”
West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee, who has been pushing for a federal front of opposition parties, blamed the Congress for not reaching an electoral agreemnt with the JD(S) in Karnataka. “Congratulations to the winners of the Karnataka elections. For those who lost, fight back. If Congress had gone into an alliance with the JD(S), the result would have been different. Very different,” she tweeted.
National Conference chief Omar Abdullah, known for his witty reactions, alluded to Shakespeare to express his anguish over the results in a one-liner - “Et tu #Karnataka”.
The BJP was ahead in 112 and the Congress in 68 of the 222 seats in which elections were held on May 12, as per latest trends. The JD(S) was leading in 39 seats. Elections were posponed in two seats.