In the recently concluded Karnataka assembly elections, the BJP emerged as the single largest party and the Congress and JD(S) ended up second and third respectively. The BJP fell short by 8 seats to touch the majority mark in the 222 member House.
At the start of the campaign the Congress appeared as though it would sail through. However the party ended up with 78 seats and in yesterday's meeting many of its senior leaders blamed Siddaramaiah for the defeat.
Dr. Sandeep Shastri, leading political scientist tells OneIndia that the main factor that prevented the BJP from getting a majority was its poor performance in Bengaluru.
In the case of the Congress several of its critical agendas had failed, he says. This whole focus on local issues failed to get any traction for the Congress, Dr. Shastri also adds.
The Lingayat issue that the Congress drummed up ahead of the elections too failed badly.
This could be seen in the fact that the Lingayats backed the BJP heavily, he also says. Moreover, most of the ministers who pioneered the Lingayat issues for the Congress also ended up losing the elections.
Coming to the AHINDA agenda, it did not hold strongly for the Congress. The non-Kurubas and the OBCs moved towards the BJP. The left Dalits too have been unhappy with Siddaramaiah over the non-implementation of a proposal that recommended internal reservation for them. Overall the social coalition that the Congress tried to create backfired and ended up benefiting the BJP.
For the BJP the developments in the last week of the campaign worked. The campaign by Prime Minister in the last days touched a chord with the people, Dr Shastri says. The organisational strategy of the BJP managed to get their supporters to the polling booth and this worked largely for the party.
However I feel that in the end Bengaluru let the BJP down. The middle and upper caste did not come out and vote. Considering that polling was on a Saturday, many of them had left for vacations on Friday and this brought the numbers down, Dr Shastri adds.