Bengaluru: Around 7 o’clock in the morning, an hour before the counting of votes started in Gujarat, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told one of his aides that if the Congress manages to win around 80 seats, he can once again win Karnataka in the Assembly polls due in April/May next year. As the Congress led by Rahul Gandhi inched towards 80 seats, Siddaramaiah had a smile on his face. He told the party leaders and workers around him that they must win Karnataka once again as the ‘Modi Magic’ is on the wane in his home state.
Later, speaking to News18 he said, “We have lost. But Rahul Gandhi has fought a great battle and almost defeated BJP in Modi’s own state. BJP has used everything… money to muscle power to retain Gujarat. It is an indication of what is going to happen in our state. We will win again. We had 44 MLAs. Now we have close to 80 MLAs in Gujarat”.
According to state Congress leaders, a massive win for BJP in Gujarat would have had a negative impact on their campaign in Karnataka. Since the BJP had to struggle in its strongest state, they feel that Congress can beat the BJP in Karnataka.
It is a known fact that Rahul Gandhi was the one who made Siddaramaiah CM in 2013 and has backed him fully giving him a free hand. They also share a good personal rapport. Unlike Gujarat, Congress in Karnataka has dozens of leaders and a strong organisational structure. The Congress insiders feel that these factors help them in giving a befitting reply to the BJP.
The BJP state chief and its CM nominee BS Yeddyurappa was glued to TV news channels since morning. After BJP managed to cross the halfway mark, a thin smile appeared on his face. The political analysts in Karnataka were quick to see this as a sign of relief, not because the BJP has won Gujarat, because it has just scraped through.
According to insiders, he is not happy with the party high command in New Delhi interfering too much in the state affairs. A tough win in Gujarat for the party will make him indispensable for the BJP in Karnataka. He will have a bigger say in the election strategy and ticket distribution they say.
Speaking to News18, Yeddyurappa dismissed these theories as stupid. He said: “It is a win for Modi. I also agree that we need a strong local leader to win Assembly elections. But Modi will be number one and I will be number two in Karnataka. Whatever Siddaramaiah might think or say, we will win here”.
The JDS supremo H D Deve Gowda who was closely watching the developments in Gujarat said that it would make battle for Karnataka much more hard and interesting for both BJP and Congress.
According to his close circles, Gowda is hoping for a fractured mandate which will make him a kingmaker in the state after the election. He feels that a narrow victory in Gujarat will make BJP’s task difficult.
In the meantime, Bhupender Yadav who is credited with BJP’s win in Gujarat, has been asked to oversee Karnataka poll strategy.