BJP supporters celebrate after learning of the initial poll results of Karnataka state assembly elections, in Bengaluru. Photograph:( Reuters )
The Bharatiya Janata Party has done the unthinkable again. It has emerged as the single-largest party after the assembly election results in Karnataka, a Congress citadel, pushing Congress to a point where if it is unable to form a government in the state, it will be reduced to just two states - Punjab and Mizoram - one one Union Territory, Puducherry.
The BJP has been able to achieve this feat because it has been facing one challenge after another since coming to power in 2014. The hunger to be at the top, to beat other parties and become number 1 keeps the Narendra Modi-led BJP going. It reminds me of the third installment of the famous 'Rocky' film series starring Sylvester Stallone. The film, which released in 1982, shows boxer Rocky Balboa not taking a young challenger seriously.
Rocky's mentor presses him for to be more focussed, but Rocky acts like a smug and the celebrity boxer is defeated by the 'hungry' challenger.
This is the same thing that has happened with Congress and its president Rahul Gandhi. The writing was there on the wall, the BJP was preparing hard - it was able to make inroads in rural Karnataka too - the caste arithmetic was altered, yet an overconfident and underprepared Rahul Gandhi refused to take the challenge seriously.
The Congress relied heavily on pleasing the Lingayats, by giving them a status of minority religion, and playing to the Kannada sentiments - they created a separate Kannada flag - but the will and determination was lacking.
The voting was held in Karnataka on Saturday and the state saw a record voter turnout of 72.36 per cent. Most of the exit polls had predicted a hung assembly and gave BJP an edge. The party made these predictions true and is on the way to bag more than 100 seats. The deep inroads made by the BJP in Karnataka shows its level of preparedness.
They had projected B S Yeddyurappa as its chief ministerial face. Yeddyurappa was allegedly involvement in a massive illegal iron ore mining scam and was even put behind bars for corruption charges and had to spend over 20 days in Bangalore's central prison. The BJP was able to overcome all that and has come so close to forming the government in the state.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)