Karnataka Verdict Boosts Modi’s Image

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The JD(S) boss and former Prime Minister, H D Deve Gowda was given a categorical assurance by none other than UPA chairperson, Sonia Gandhi that his son Kumaraswami would be made the Chief Minister with Congress support if the two parties joined hands to keep the saffron outfit at bay.

Karnakata has thrown a hung verdict but irrespective of whether the BJP forms government or not, the image of the party and that of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, its undisputed leader, has relieved a big boost.

The outcome of the assembly polls in this key southern state is significant in more ways than one and bound to impact national politics while also making major contending parties in states like Rajasthan, Chhatisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, where elections are due later this year, rework and fine-tune their strategies.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has emerged as the single-largest party in Karnataka though it failed to reach the magic number of 112. Congress, its main rival in the state, was way behind and the Janata Dal (Secular) was at the third place. But Congress and JD(S) put together have the numbers to form the government if invited by the governor.

This, however, is a big ‘If’ as both BJP and the Congress-JD(S) combine joust for power in the state. No sooner than the Congress realized that it was not in a position to form the government with BJP surging ahead of it the party made an offer to JD(S) which it could not refuse. The JD(S) boss and former Prime Minister, H D Deve Gowda was given a categorical assurance by none other than UPA chairperson, Sonia Gandhi that his son Kumaraswami would be made the chief minister with Congress support if the two parties joined hands to keep the saffron outfit at bay.

It was an offer too tempting for Deve Gowda, who as expected has emerged the kingmaker, to turn down. Now both the sides have staked their claims to form the government and it is entirely up to the governor to invite one or the other of them to who then will have to prove majority on the floor of the assembly.

Be that as it may what is important is that by emerging as the single largest party in Karnataka the BJP can now genuinely claim itself to be a pan-Indian party with an appeal and presence cutting across the country. Till now it was largely seen as a party confined to the heartland and still supported mostly by the business class and the upper castes.

From that point of view it is like BJP breaking the glass ceiling and Prime Minister, Narendra Modi truly acquiring the image of a national leader whose charisma can spell magic even beyond the Vindhyas.

The verdict also comes as a major confidence booster for the party ahead of the assembly elections in three key states—Rajasthan, Chhatisgarh and Madhya Pradesh—whose results will be of crucial importance to the BJP before the 2019 slugfest.

Karnataka has not only put the seal of authenticity on the performance and stature of the Prime Minister it has also enhanced the reputation of his right hand man and BJP national president, Amit Shah as a strategist. Perceived to be a hard task master he has emerged as a shrewd planner who also understands the pulse of the people and can set his partymen tough but achievable goals. Thus, irrespective of who forms the government, the hung verdict in Karnataka is good news for the BJP.

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