Congress party has won power in south India’s key state of Karnataka on Saturday, partial election results showed, defeating Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling BJP a year ahead of national polls.
With dozens of results still to come, Congress had already won 126 places in the 224-seat assembly, enough for an overall majority.
It is the second state where ruling party has lost to the Congress in the last six months.
In December, Congress defeated BJP in northern state of Himachal Pradesh, a small hill state, home to lower Himalayas.
Jairam Ramesh, Congress’s general secretary, attributed the party’s victory to having fought the election campaign on local issues of “livelihood and food security, price rise, farmer distress, electricity supply, joblessness, and corruption”.
“The PM injected divisiveness and attempted polarisation. The vote in Karnataka is for an engine in Bengaluru that will combine economic growth with social harmony,” Ramesh wrote on Twitter.
“The markets of hate have been shut down and the shops of love have opened,” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi told reporters at the party headquarters in New Delhi on Saturday.
Over the past couple of years, Karnataka reported communal polarisation between majority Hindus and minority Muslims, the BJP government also banned girls from wearing the (hijab) headscarf as part of their school uniform.
With political activist saying the win is a whopping after 34 years.
Even as the counting was on, political activist Yogendra Yadav said that this election is the biggest victory for “any party in Karnataka" after 1989 during Veerendra Patil's regime when the Congress had won 178 seats with a vote share of 43.76 percent.
According to the data posted by Yadav on Twitter, in 1999, the Congress won 132 seats with a vote share of 40.84 percent, followed by 2013 when the party bagged 122 seats with a vote share of 36.6 percent.
In 1994, JDS won a total of 115 seats with a vote percentage of 33.54. The BJP won 110 seats in 2008 with a vote share of 36.86 percent, followed by in 2018 with 104 seats with a vote percentage of 36.3. In 2004, BJP got a total of 79 seats with a vote share of 28.33 percent.