Bangalore : The first ever BJP Government in south India will be sworn-in on May 28 with the party almost getting a majority, sources said here.
B S Yeddyurappa will take oath as chief minister, the sources said, but refused to share further details.
The party, on the verge of winning 111 seats, just two short of the magic figure 113 required for a simple majority, said it has the support of four independents out of the seven who are close to victories.
The sources declined to name the independents backing the BJP Government, and just remarked "they are our rebels".
The election process ends by May 28 on the day the Election Commission was expected to notify the constitution of the 13th Legislative Assembly in Karnataka. It was pure euphoria at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi on Sunday after it was confirmed that Karnataka would have a BJP Government. In contrast, there was palpable gloom at the Congress party headquarters.
The 11, Ashoka Road office of the BJP witnessed scenes of jubilation as party workers burst crackers and distributed sweets to celebrate the electoral victory in Karnataka. The celebrations included a victory dance to the tune of drum beats.
Among the leaders who went to the BJP headquarters were party chief Rajnath Singh, spokespersons Ravishankar Prasad, Prakash Javadekar and Rajeev Pratap Rudy as also senior leaders Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj.
Promptly declaring the party's victory in Karnataka, Singh stated that the party was now a front-runner in the Lok Sabha polls.
Singh said the BJP may be short of a majority, but it won't be deterred from forming the next government.
"In Karnataka, the party may be one or two seats deficient of majority but that won't deter BJP from forming the next government," he told reporters here.
"If any party will form the government in Karnataka, it will be none other than BJP," he added.
"Today's result shows that the BJP's victory will continue right up to the general elections, including in the Assembly elections to be held in Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan later this year," Singh said.
He added with the party ruling in seven states while it is in coalition in another five, the BJP is poised to perform similarly in the coming elections.
Singh, however, chose not to comment on the factors behind his party's success in Karnataka
BJP leader Sushma Swaraj on Sunday described the party's victory in Karnataka as a "verdict against Sonia Gandhi's leadership".
"This is the 11th defeat of Congress in succession in the country and is nothing but a verdict against Congress President Sonia Gandhi's leadership," she told reporters here.
Taking a swipe at the Congress manifesto, which offered "freebies" for the poor like colour television sets and rice at Rs.two a kilogram, she charged that the Congress never had shown concern for the poor when they ruled.
She expressed confidence about the BJP winning the Lok Sabha polls also and L K Advani becoming the Prime Minister.
M. Venkaiah Naidu attributed the party's victory to the "injustice meted out to BJP by its coalition partner JDS".
"It is this which influenced the people in the party's favour," he said.
"People have given their verdict and there is no doubt B S Yeddyurappa will become the Chief Minister. However, a meeting will be convened and he will be chosen there," he said.
He said the BJP's victory in the state would definitely impact the national political scene.
BJP National General Secretary Ananth Kumar said: "It is a verdict of the people," adding, the credit should go totally to the people.
The BJP's win in Karnataka was a vote against the Centre's policies, party senior leader L K Advani said on Sunday, and added that the results showed the shape of things to come in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections.
Upbeat after the party's spectacular showing, the Leader of the Opposition said the "triumph in Karnataka will prove to be a turning point" and reiterated that 2008 is going to be a 'year of change' in national politics.
"This geographical expansion of the BJP, and the simultaneous shrinkage of the Congress party almost all over the country, shows the shape of things to come in the run-up to the next Parliamentary elections," he said. He also dubbed the poll victory as a verdict against the Congress party's "politics of opportunism" and the JD (S)'s "politics of betrayal".
Keen to target the Congress-led Centre, Advani said the Congress party would be indulging in "self-delusion" if it thought that the people of Karnataka were influenced by the local factors. "The UPA government's utter failure to control the prices of essential commodities, its soft and compromising policy on terrorism, and its insensitivity towards the plight of kisans have angered the common people all over the country," he said.
This, Advani said, was evident from the Congress' defeat in almost all the Assembly elections held since it came to power at the Centre in May 2004.
"I have no doubt that the party's triumph in Karnataka will prove to be a turning point comparable to the quantum increase in parliamentary strength that the BJP achieved in 1989," the party's Prime Ministerial face remarked.
The BJP had won 86 seats in the 1989 Lok Sabha elections, up from only two in 1984.
From 86 seats in 1989, the BJP consistently improved its performance leading to formation of its government in 1998, ending the Congress' domination at the Centre and transforming India's polity into a bi-polar system, Advani said.
"Nearly 20 years later, another turning point has arrived in the challenge put up by BJP to the hegemony of Congress.
"Whereas earlier our party's growth was due to its ability to form governments in northern and western states, and also later, in Orissa and Bihar in the East, now for the first time we are in a position to form government in a southern state," Advani said.
Congress leader S M Krishna on Sunday owned moral responsibility for the party's defeat in Karnataka and said it would have to rework its strategy while being in the Opposition.
"All of us together are answerable for the defeat. I had said earlier that if the Congress is defeated, I, as chief campaign manager, will own up the responsibility. I own up the responsibility," he said while commenting on the party's electoral performance in Karnataka.
"I congratulate the BJP for securing a near simple majority. I wish them well," said Krishna, who resigned as Maharashtra Governor ahead of the elections to take up the campaigner's role.
Conceding that the Congress would have to sit in the Opposition, he said the party "will have to rework its strategy and then successfully handle issues of the state while sitting in the Opposition."
He said challenges before the BJP are "very huge" as expectations of people are "very high".
"I hope they (BJP) will have the political will to take up the issues of the state and provide good administration," Krishna said.
Asked whether BJP would be able to deliver considering that it had no experience of governing the state, the Congress leader said "they will learn on the job".
On suggestions about disunity and dissidents in the Congress, Krishna was dismissive about it, saying such reports usually surface during elections.
"It's a disappointment. But in a democratic set up, we have to accept", Krishna said, adding "We haven't done as well as we had thought we would do".
Asked who should be blamed for the Congress performance, the former Chief Minister said: "the blame-game can start after voting pattern is analysed".
Krishna also said: "this will be a testing time for the BJP as governing a complex state like Karnataka is a huge challenge".