The BJP’s poll campaign blitzkrieg led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah did not work for the organisation as the Congress romped home in 136 out of Karnataka’s 224 Assembly constituencies on Saturday, 13 May.
The BJP, which hoped to continue in power, could manage only 64 seats, while the JD(S) came in a distant third with 20 seats.
The saffron party is now groping in the dark to blame someone for the debacle, especially as Modi and Shah visited the state multiple times in an attempt to retain power.
The prime minister and the home minister held 46 public rallies, including roadshows, across Karnataka. Of the 46 Assembly seats, the BJP managed to win only 15 seats, while the Congress won 28 seats, and the JD(S), four.
Karnataka, which polled on 10 May, registered its highest-ever voter turnout of 73.3 percent. The counting was held on Saturday.
Modi magic loses sheen
Prime Minister Modi visited Karnataka four times between 9 April and 7 May. He addressed 17 rallies in various constituencies, but the BJP could not capitalise on his charisma.
The BJP could win only five of the 17 constituencies while the Congress and the JD(S) won 10 and two seats, respectively.
In Bidar’s Humnabad Assembly segment, where Modi campaigned on 29 April, the BJP’s Siddu Patil won by a narrow margin of 1,594 votes.
He then addressed a mega rally in Vijayapura City, where BJP candidate Basanagouda Patil Yatnal won by 8,233 votes.
Modi held a rally at Kudachi, where the BJP candidate P Rajeev lost to Mahendra K Tammannavar of the Congress by a huge margin of 25,243 votes.
The prime minister held a public rally in Channapatna on 30 April. The BJP candidate CP Yogeshwar lost to JD(S) leader and former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy by a margin of 15,915 votes.
On the same day, he addressed a rally at Belur, where the BJP candidate HK Suresh defeated Congress’s B Shivaramu by 7,736 votes.
A lot of hypes have been broken this #KarnatakaElection2023.
The hype of the “Modi magic” is one. https://t.co/4RKmgdzaKV
— Anusha Ravi Sood (@anusharavi10) May 13, 2023
Modi addressed public meetings in Chitradurga, Hosapete, and Sindhanur Assembly seats on 2 May. The Congress won all three seats, where the least margin was over 25,000 votes.
On 3 May, he held public rallies in Moodabidri, Ankola, and Bailhongal Assembly seats. The Congress registered a thumping victory in Ankola (Karwar) and Bailhongal. The BJP has to be satisfied with only Moodabidri.
Modi campaigned for the BJP in Ballari and Tumakuru Rural Assembly seats on 5 May. While Balalri went to the Congress, the BJP won Tumakuru Rural.
After taking part in a mega roadshow in Bengaluru on 6 May, he addressed rallies in Badami and Haveri Assembly seats. The BJP lost both.
On his last day of the poll campaign on 7 May, the prime minister addressed public rallies in Shivamogga Rural and Nanjangud Assembly seats. JD(S) and Congress won Shivamogga Rural and Nanjangud, respectively.
Shah’s strategy fails
Union Home Minister Shah addressed 30 public rallies and took out roadshows between 24 April and 7 May. The BJP won 10 seats, while the Congress emerged victorious in 18 seats. The JD(S) won two.
The BJP won Sakleshpur, Terdal, Shirahatti, Harihara, Udupi, Byndoor, Shivamogga, Raibag, Belagavi South, and Doddaballapur.
The Congress won Gundlupet, Yadgir, Navalagund, Hangal, Madikeri, Mangaluru, Gubbi, Tiptur, Anekal, Ranebennur, Varuna, Kollegal, BTM Layout, Saundatti Yellamma, Athani, Chikkodi-Sadalga, Yamakanamardi and Hungund. Shah had campaigned in all these segments.
The JD(S) won Devara Hipparagi and Hanur Assembly seats, where Shah held public rallies.