November 6, 2018
This Diwali brings good news for the Congress and Janata Dal (Secular) combine in Karnataka after it won four out of give bye-elections to Parliament and assembly seats.
The import of the outcome of these elections is significant in that it boosts the confidence of the Congress cadres ahead of the general elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram, scheduled for November-December polls.
Importantly, the outcome of the by polls points to the fact that the coalition was working on the ground. This is further bad news for the BJP as it can hardly repeat its good performance of 2014 in the general elections to Lok Sabha next year.
The BJP had won 17 out of 28 from Karnataka last year and is considered its gateway to South India. But clearly, now with the political arithmetic and chemistry beginning to work on the ground, the BJP will have to revise and rework its strategy for Karnataka.
Particularly significant is the loss of Bellary from where the BJP has won from 2004 and has become a stronghold. More significant is the victory margin of over 2 lakh votes that reflects some disenchantment of the voters with the BJP government at the centre.
The Congress leaders immediately pounced on the opportunity and declared that the results were a referendum on the working of the central government.
“People have rejected BJP. It is also a rejection of Modi govt. By poll results will send a message to the entire country that the time for change has come,” said Karnataka Congress leader Dinesh Gundu Rao.
BJP spokesperson Vivek Reddy admitted as much that the Bellary loss was a matter of concern and the party will introspect and make the necessary modifications. But he denied that the result was in anyway a reflection on the working of the central government.
BJP state unit chief, BS Yeddyurappa also admitted that Bellary was a painful setback and he felt that the results were a warning to the BJP. But he expressed confidence that the 2019 general elections will belong to the BJP.