Modi's BJP party defeated in Karnataka Indian state by Congress party
Even though the BJP has held more than 9,000 rallies, Modi’s popularity seems insufficient to face the frustrations over high inflation and employment opportunities.
During the elections in the Indian state of Karnataka, PM Narendra Modi’s ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), lost against the country's opposition Congress party.
“People have rejected divisive politics,” Congress party spokesperson Pawan Khera said.
This serves as a blow to Modi by the state which is home to 65 million people, ahead of the general elections next year, during which the PM will seek a third term.
His party has been in power since 2018, despite that Karnataka is the party’s only stronghold in southern India and was considered a critical stepping stone for its political ambitions in the states of Telangana and Tamil Nadu, which have resisted the BJP.
Even though the BJP has held more than 9,000 rallies, Modi’s popularity was not sufficient to face the frustrations over high inflation and employment opportunities outside the city’s capital, Bengaluru.
Congress fought hard to win the voters ever since Modi took over in 2014 and with only three states as strongholds. It was only topped by the BJP in terms of finances and ground mobilization.
At the same time, the Congress party is seeking an opposition alliance, and according to analysts, the latest win in the state of Karnataka will make it stronger and easier to make a deal with other parties.
The BJP’s attempts to use religion to mobilize the Hindu majority were in vain, except in the coastal areas where right-wing Hindu nationalist elements have been proactive under the recent government.
Siddaramaiah, the state leader of the Congress party, said after the results came out, “Secularism over communal politics, harmony over hatred".
Recently, an opposition leader, Rahul Gandhi, was disqualified from the election race after allegedly being found guilty of defamation for a 2019 campaign trail remark implying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a criminal.
A top opposition leader in India, Manish Sisodia, was also arrested in February on corruption charges which involve defects in formulating Delhi’s liquor policy.
It is worth noting that Modi’s government has been widely criticized for exploiting the law to target and silence critics and opposition figures.
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