Karnataka wrested, Congress now looks at the battles ahead

Besides being a morale booster for the grand old party, the Karnataka result has given belief to the other non-BJP parties in other regions that the saffron party is no longer invincible and can be defeated with a well-coordinated strategy. By Dr. Anil Singh

After being crowned king of Karnataka, Congress now faces a number of difficulties, particularly when it comes to carrying out the five promises it made to the electorate of the state during its campaign. In addition to keeping its election promises, it must make sure that its elected officials do not become victims of “Operation Lotus,” as happened in the days following the 2018 assembly elections. The party leadership must maintain internal cohesion within the rank and file of the state unit of Congress while also keeping its flock together. 

Undoubtedly, the victory for the Congress in Karnataka is good for the party’s morale there and elsewhere, but it also has the potential to have an impact on the Opposition’s coordinated efforts to defeat the BJP in a number of ways. The Congress, which has been battling to regain its lost ground following the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, is likely to gain confidence and credibility from a victory in Karnataka. A victory for the Congress would strengthen Rahul Gandhi’s leadership and make it possible to form alliances with other regional parties to challenge the BJP’s sway at the federal level and in other states. Additionally, it conveys to voters that the BJP is not unbeatable and that there is a viable alternative that can put pressure on the BJP to address a number of issues, including farmers’ demands, the economic slowdown, and communal violence, which have weakened its support among the general public. In order to defeat the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Congress now seems to be in a better position to convince other opposition parties to work together.

Implications for the BJP 

The BJP’s recent defeat in the Karnataka assembly elections may have a variety of effects on its chances in the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The BJP has been trying to gain traction in states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Telangana in south India, so a defeat would be a setback for those efforts. Additionally, it has damaged the reputations of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, who both actively promoted the party in Karnataka. It has also given the opposition parties more clout, particularly the Congress, which is trying to turn around its fortunes following a string of electoral defeats. In order to position itself as a serious challenger to the BJP on the national stage, Congress would like to use Karnataka as a launching pad for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. A defeat for the BJP is also likely to inspire the regional parties, which had been ignored in recent years, to greater heights.

A loss for the BJP has repercussions for its internal dynamics because it could lead to a change in leadership or a coup by leaders who feel they have been ignored or denied tickets by the party’s high command. It also calls into question how it has handled issues like the Covid-19 pandemic, farmer protests, the slowdown in the economy, and inter-communal violence.

The Way Forward

The results of the Karnataka elections, where the Congress won and the BJP lost, could have an impact on both parties’ chances of winning the upcoming assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh, which are scheduled for the latter half of 2023. In Madhya Pradesh, where the BJP has a slim majority, the Congress may feel emboldened after Karnataka triumph to win back some of its dissident MLAs and present a unified front under Kamal Nath’s direction. The BJP’s loss in Karnataka may hurt the saffron party’s confidence and momentum in Telangana, where the incumbent TRS is up against a resurgent BJP. The main opposition party in the state, the Congress, may benefit from the BJP’s defeat and try to turn around its fortunes by highlighting the shortcomings of both the TRS and the BJP governments.

A victory in Karnataka could boost the Congress’ morale and stability in Rajasthan, where it is currently in power by a slim margin. The victory for the Congress in Karnataka might aid the party in resolving its differences and projecting a unified front to voters. Especially after losing Karnataka, the BJP, the state’s main opposition party, is likely to find it challenging to take on the Congress. In the state, the BJP may also have to deal with internal factionalism and leadership problems.

A victory in Karnataka has boosted the Congress’ morale and stability in Rajasthan, where it is currently in power by a slim margin. The victory of the Congress in Karnataka appears to have bolstered its standing and support in Chhattisgarh, where it currently holds a comfortable majority of seats in the legislature. Congress has gained support from the public by implementing a number of welfare programmes and pro-farmer policies. It will probably be challenging for the BJP, the state’s main opposition party, to defeat the Congress, especially in light of its defeat in Karnataka. Considering that the BJP lost two straight elections in 2018 and 2019, the challenge of reorganizing its structure and strategy may also be one that it must overcome.