Resurgent Congress heading for majority in Karnataka

Bengaluru:A resurgent Congress appeared headed for a simple majority in Karnataka, and on course to wrest power from the BJP in a morale-boosting victory ahead of next year’s Lok Sabha elections.

As per the latest trends, the M Mallikarjun Kharge-led party was leading in 119 constituencies, well above the 113-mark needed for a majority in the 224-member House, elections to which were held on May 10.

The BJP, which won 104 seats in the previous Assembly elections, was ahead in 74 segments and the JD(S) led by former Chief Minister H D Deve Gowda in 24. Others were leading in seven segments.

While Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai (Shiggaon), former CM Siddaramaiah (Varuna), state Congress President D K Shivakumar (Kanakapura) and JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy (Channapatna) are among the prominent faces leading in their respective segments, Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil (Ramanagara), BJP national General Secretary C T Ravi (Chikkamagaluru) and former CM Jagadish Shettar of the Congress (Hubli-Dharwad Central) are trailing.

Siddaramaiah said the party will come to power on its own strength by winning over 120 seats.

The visits of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and national BJP President J P Nadda have had no impact on the voters of Karnataka, he said.

“Congress party will win by getting over 120 seats; it (counting) is still in the initial stage, more rounds of counting have to be completed. So Congress will come to power by getting over 120 seats on its own strength,” the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly said.

Putting up a united front, Congress leaders said making corruption a central campaign theme and promise of free rice, power and employment dole are among the factors that contributed to the party’s good performance.

In addition, the Muslim vote, which accounted for nearly 13 per cent of the electorate, consolidated in favour of the Congress party sources said.

“We have put up a united front”, a senior Congress leader said. “We were one step ahead in the narratives”.

Congress had been attacking the Basavaraj Bommai-led administration months before the elections, and charged it with being a “40 per cent commission” government, while accusing it of corruption.

The Congress had announced five key pre-poll guarantees and said it would give them a stamp of approval in the maiden Cabinet meeting if voted to power.

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