Modi’s BJP concedes crucial state election in rare poll loss

The ruling Bharatiya Janata occasion has misplaced management of an important southern state to the Indian Nationwide Congress in a carefully watched election, dealing a uncommon political setback to prime minister Narendra Modi a yr earlier than a nationwide ballot.

Early outcomes printed on Saturday at 8pm by the Election Fee of India confirmed Congress having received or main in 136 of the 224 seats which might be up for grabs within the Karnataka state meeting.

The BJP had received or was main in 65 seats, suggesting that Congress would have the ability to kind a authorities with no coalition associate.

Karnataka is one in all India’s wealthiest states and residential to the tech hub of Bengaluru. The defeat means the BJP will lose the one state it governs within the nation’s south.

Modi personally campaigned for every week forward of Wednesday’s vote, which each the BJP and Congress described as strategically essential. Each events’ candidates raised points of faith, caste, the economic system and corruption.

“We have now been not in a position to make the mark, regardless of a whole lot of efforts [that] have been put up by all people proper from our prime minister to the employees,” Basavaraj Bommai, Karnataka’s BJP chief minister, mentioned in remarks conceding defeat that had been broadcast on-line on Saturday.

The outcomes can be an enormous increase for Congress, which was India’s dominant political occasion for many years earlier than it was crushed by the BJP in nationwide elections in each 2014 and 2019.

A senior Congress official attributed the occasion’s win to having fought the marketing campaign on native points.

“The PM injected divisiveness and tried polarisation,” Jairam Ramesh, Congress’s common secretary in control of communications, wrote on Twitter. “The vote in Karnataka is for an engine in Bengaluru that may mix financial progress with social concord.”

Modi, joined by Amit Shah, his high deputy and residential affairs minister, and different officers had campaigned in Karnataka on the energy of delivering “double engine” authorities for the state, with the BJP in energy in each New Delhi and Bengaluru.

Forward of the polls, the BJP state authorities scrapped a 4 per cent reservation underneath affirmative motion job quotas for minority Muslims, and reallocated it to 2 different deprived teams in a transfer seen as interesting to its Hindu nationalist base. Muslims make up about 13 per cent of Karnataka’s inhabitants.

An analyst mentioned that the outcome was a transparent win for Congress, however famous that a lot of the occasion’s positive aspects appeared to have come on the expense of Janata Dal (Secular), the third largest occasion, fairly than the BJP.

“That is an emphatic victory for Congress,” mentioned Sugata Srinivasaraju, an creator and journalist based mostly in Bengaluru. “However I might not extrapolate this and say 2024 will essentially be comparable as a result of the BJP seems to have retained its vote share.”

Congress had described the Karnataka vote, together with different upcoming state elections, as a stepping stone to rebuilding its base nationally.

Extra reporting by Jyotsna Singh in New Delhi

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