Karnataka’s Thumbs Up For Congress And Lessons For BJP

The 137-year-old Grand Old Party is again in enterprise. For the primary time since its rout within the 2014 nationwide election, repeated in 2019, the Congress has purpose to have a good time. The occasion gained elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in 2018 and had a slender win in Himachal Pradesh in 2022. The decisive verdict in Karnataka at this time offers the Congress’s employees purpose to smile after the state management pulled off a win versus the charisma of Narendra Modi.

The Congress’s “vocal for native” marketing campaign prevailed. For the primary time since its inception in 1980, the BJP was charged with corruption; the “40 per cent Sarkara” slogan following bribe allegations by the Karnataka Contractors’ Association and the varsity managements’ federation towards the Basavaraj Bommai-led BJP authorities appears to have caught.

The election was fought on native points, and “crony capitalism”, to which Rahul Gandhi’s post-poll tweet referred, was by no means made a difficulty. The sturdy regional management of the occasion, Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar (who agreed to sink their variations), had pleaded with the central management to maintain the same old anti-Modi rhetoric at bay as native points and the occasion’s 5 ensures (which the brand new Cabinet is slated to implement in its very first assembly) emerged as a bulwark of the marketing campaign.

Karnataka has been a milestone state for the Congress. The occasion break up for the primary time when two days earlier than Jawaharlal Nehru’s start anniversary, Indira Gandhi was expelled by the “Syndicate” in a gathering of the Congress Working Committee held in Bangalore (now Bengaluru) on November 12, 1969. Karnataka chief S Nijalingappa was Congress president then. The subsequent turning level got here in November 1978, when Indira Gandhi gained the Chikmagalur Lok Sabha by-poll, reversing the 1977 rout and setting in movement the Congress’s return to energy in 1980. The Congress image of “Cow and Calf” was frozen after the 1978 break up. The “Hand” image was first utilized in Chikmagalur. The “Hand” obtained a thumbs-up in 1978. The revelry was repeated on May 13, 2013.

Sonia Gandhi’s victory within the 1999 normal election from Bellary, over BJP stalwart Sushma Swaraj, carved her a spot within the management pantheon of the Congress and ushered her uninterrupted two-decade-plus reign over the occasion. The 2023 victory is probably not a turning level of the magnitude of 1969, 1978, or 1999, however it definitely is a lifesaver for a sagging occasion.

It’s additionally a giant increase for efforts to unite non-BJP events, being championed by Nitish Kumar who, earlier this week, acquired endorsement from Nationalist Congress Party stalwart Sharad Pawar.

The viability of the Congress as a number one power in an anti-BJP alliance has been questioned by a bit of regional events, notably Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress, Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, Okay Chandrasekhar Rao’s Bharat Rashtra Samithi and Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party. This will persist. The risk of a pan-India alliance appears distant. State-level alliances could emerge within the run-up to the 2024 General Election. There are highly effective leaders just like the Biju Janata Dal’s Naveen Patnaik and YSRCP’s Jagan Reddy preferring to steer clear of tie-ups. The method of 1 opposition candidate to tackle the BJP in every Lok Sabha seat is a far cry.

While profitable Karnataka, the Congress did not retain the Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat in Punjab. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which didn’t retain its Sangrur Lok Sabha seat quickly after it swept to energy in Punjab, gained Jalandhar, thus consolidating its place in a state dominated by the Congress until now.

The Congress’s efficiency in by-polls in Uttar Pradesh (in two seats it polled lower than two per cent votes) Odisha and Meghalaya was dismal. The BJP’s ally Apna Dal (Sonelal) gained each UP seats; the Biju Janata Dal and the National People’s Party retained their supremacy in Odisha and Meghalaya.

The BJP, whereas dropping Karnataka, demonstrated its grip over Uttar Pradesh, with a sweeping victory in native physique polls in India’s largest state. Neither Narendra Modi nor Amit Shah spent any time in UP. The charisma and efficiency of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath labored. The takeaway from UP is that Modi and Shah can depend on a powerful state chief the place one exists. Like Yogi Adityanath, Himanta Biswa Sarma in Assam has emerged as an election-winning face of the BJP. So state leaders like Vasundhara Raje in Rajasthan and Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Madhya Pradesh (each have been contemporaries of Narendra Modi as chief ministers) could get leeway in elections of their states later this yr.

The eclipse of BS Yediyurappa in Karnataka will linger within the minds of BJP strategists. Modi and Shah couldn’t retrieve the bottom misplaced by Basavaraj Bommai. They did assist be certain that a doable rout was restricted to a defeat in Karnataka. The BJP could should revisit the thought of experimenting with the likes of Jairam Thakur (Himachal Pradesh), Raghubar Das (Jharkhand), Manoharlal Khattar (Haryana) or Devendra Fadnavis (Maharashtra).

Paradropping management in a state, Congress-style, is probably not the most effective template for a vibrant nationwide occasion. A pacesetter rising from the grassroots, the most effective instance being Narendra Modi himself, is the specified management mannequin.

For Mallikarjun Kharge, the Karnataka veteran who heads the Congress, the outcomes are a lift. He displayed his attain amongst non-BJP opposition events in conferences known as by him as Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha through the disrupted Budget session of parliament. Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar broke down whereas addressing the media as outcomes poured in. Weeping, he recalled how Sonia Gandhi had visited him whereas he was jailed in Delhi’s Tihar jail. (Sonia Gandhi’s temporary marketing campaign regardless of her poor well being additionally helped).

A overview of the Congress win in Karnataka can’t overlook the marketing campaign by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who copied the methodology of her grandmother whereas reaching out to ladies and youth voters. Her marketing campaign, which highlighted the occasion’s Five Guarantees — Yuva Nidhi: Assistance; Anna Bhagya: Sustenance; Gruha Jyothi: Affordability; Uchita Prayana: Accessibility; Gruha Lakshmi: Empowerment – struck a chord. She emphasised that the pledge would assist those that suffered beneath the BJP’s “40% Commission Sarkara”. Her campaigning methodology, which by no means went wherever close to Rahul Gandhi’s troll-like campaigning, appeared simpler. After Karnataka, in a doable Congress reshuffle, Priyanka might get a extra proactive function within the occasion.

(Shubhabrata Bhattacharya is a retired Editor and a public affairs commentator.)

Disclaimer: These are the non-public opinions of the writer.

Source link

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart