Landslide victory for Congress in Karnataka, BJP decimated; ‘Modi magic’ fails

Anti-incumbency drowns BJP ministers in Karnataka Assembly elections 2023. JD(S) suffers massive setback.

ByAnusha Ravi Sood

Published May 13, 2023 | 4:12 PM Updated May 13, 2023 | 4:12 PM

Congress wins Karnataka election

Stunning political rivals and its own leaders alike, the Indian National Congress won a resounding mandate in the Karnataka Assembly elections 2023. Towering over the BJP with more than twice as many seats, the Congress achieved a feat that hasn’t been touched in over three decades.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s extensively televised roadshow and rallies — making him the face of the BJP’s Karnataka campaign this election — and the much-hyped “Modi magic” laced with communal rhetoric couldn’t save the BJP from the tsunami of anti-incumbency that drowned several big names, including incumbent ministers.

At least 12 ministers in the Basavaraj Bommai government lost in their bastions. While the Bommai himself won, he had the tough task of conceding defeat by noon on Saturday, 13 May.

As of 3.30 pm, the Congress had already won or was leading in 136 seats while BJP had won or was leading in 64. The JD(S) suffered massive setbacks despite getting early leads in 30 seats. The regional party lost its vote share and seats to both national parties and was leading in just 20 seats on Saturday evening.

Biggest victory in over 30 years

With its collective leadership under two regional stalwarts, Siddaramaiah and DK Shivakumar — and led by son-of-the-soil and AICC President Mallikarjun Kharge — the Congress focus on local- and issue-based campaigns designed by its strategist Sunil Kanugolu and implemented by its war-room headed by former IAS officer Sasikant Senthil, helped it break an over 30-year record.

Karnataka Assembly elections 2023 is the biggest victory the Congress has seen in terms of vote share and number of seats in the state since 1989, when it won 178 seats with a vote share of 43.7 percent.

On Saturday, the party started off with big leads and maintained them till the election was pretty much sealed.

While Congress in 1999 won 132 seats, its vote share was set at 40.8 percent. On Saturday, with wins and leads in 136 seats, Congress had clocked a vote share of 43.2 percent.