The vote share percentages for the 2018 Karnataka state elections were as follows: 36.35% for the BJP, 38.14% for the Congress, and 18.3% for the JDS. The vote share percentages for the 2023 elections were as follows: 35.7% for the BJP, 43.2% for the Congress, and 13.3% for the JDS. The BJP obtained roughly the same number of votes as the JDS, and 5% of those votes were transferred to the Congress.
Two questions provide the basis for the entire analysis: 1) After four years in power, Modi’s intensive campaign, and the last-minute Bajrang Bali controversy, why couldn’t the BJP raise its vote share? 2) What accounts for 5% of JDS votes moving to Congress? The real reasons will become clear from the responses to these queries.
Factor A decreased the BJP’s vote share and included mediocre leadership at the state level, a lack of attention on local issues, and a lack of vision. Modi’s strong campaign and last-minute Hindu issues were factors in Factor B, which increased BJP votes. Factors A and B cancelled each other out, and the BJP maintained roughly the same polling percentages. Except for Yogi and Himanta, the BJP has no state leaders who can attract votes in their names, which is a major concern for the party.
There is no denying that Modi is adored by Indians, but in state elections, Modi has limitations. Delhi is a prime example, where Kejriwal triumphs and fully benefits from the situation. He began construction on Sheeshmahal in 2021, but Delhi BJP continued to sleep and was unaware till 2023. Imagine if they had brought up this topic during the MCD elections.
Rajasthan, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, MP, Maharashtra, Bihar, and Uttarakhand are all affected by the same issue. The governments of Maharashtra and Uttarakhand are also accused of appeasing Muslims heavily. In Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Bihar, there is no widespread leadership, while anti-incumbency is common in Haryana and MP.
The second issue is why 5% of JDS votes were transferred to Congress. Muslim strategic voting and Congress’ gifts are the solution to this. Congress lured anti-BJP votes away from JDS and towards itself by providing such generous freebies that they would bankrupt Karnataka. This promise of Rs 2000 in pocket money to women was first made by AAP in Punjab. After that, AAP and Congress made similar promises in Gujarat and Himachal, but no party followed through on them, and neither will women in Karnataka. Voter fraud is a complete fraud and has to stop.
Additionally, Muslims in Karnataka cast a lopsided vote for Congress this election cycle. Muslims used to support JDS in significant numbers in the past, but this time they didn’t support either JDS or SDPI or AIMIM. They merely wanted to cast their votes for any opposition party to BJP. The Bajrang Dal promise was outlawed by Congress, which sealed their fate.
On the other hand, the BJP persisted in trying to appease Muslims under the guise of Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas and Pasmanda. The BJP believed that by splitting Muslims into Ashraf and Pasmanda and implementing welfare programmes, they could win over Muslim voters. However, Muslims are incredibly informed voters and they exclusively cast their ballots for Kaum. They continued to receive benefits from the BJP but did not cast a vote for them. The BJP needs to understand that Muslims would never support them and that they will never win on the issue of secularism. In order to win over Muslims, Congress tossed a googly ball that included a ban on the Bajrang Dal, a Muslim reservation, and the repeal of anti-constitutional laws.
Thus, the BJP was defeated.