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Congress wrests Karnataka with clear majority, sets high goals for 2024 LS polls

The Congress returned to power in Karnataka on Saturday with a thumping majority, registering victory on 136 seats, including five leads in the 224-member Assembly.

As per the latest results available on the website of the Election Commission of India, the Indian National Congress has won 132 constituencies and was leading on four seats, while BJP registered victory on 63 seats and was leading on two constituencies. 

Citizens of the erstwhile Mysore State gave a clear mandate to the grand old party of the country, making the road difficult for BJP, which was expecting a straight hat-trick in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The Janata Dal (Secular), a regional party led by H.D. Kumaraswamy, came a distant third, winning 19 seats. The other regional parties, including the Kalyana Rajya Pragathi Paksha and the Sarvodaya Karnataka Paksha, bagged the single seats they contested, while the independent candidates also won both the seats they fought on.

The outcome of elections to the 17th Legislative Assembly of Karnataka, which was considered as a semi-final to the general elections due next year, has sprang a surprise for even the poll surveyors, who had majorly predicted a Hung Assembly. 

This has been the second major jolt for the saffron party, after losing Himachal Pradesh to Congress in December, 2022. BJP will now have to give a re-think to its strategy for the three states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, which will go to polls later this year.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission also declared results for the four states, which went to bypolls with Karnataka. All four states registered victory by candidates of either the ruling dispensation or their allies in by-elections of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Odisha and Meghalaya.

In the politically-sensitive state of Uttar Pradesh, BJP ally Apna Dal (Soneylal) registered victory in Chhanbey and Suar constituencies. Suar has remained a stronghold of Samajwadi Party’s Azam Khan for the past several years. 

Apna Dal (S) candidate Rinki Kol won the Chhanbey constituency with a margin of more than 9,587 votes defeating Samajwadi Party candidate Kirti Kol. In Suar constituency, Apna Dal (Sonelal) candidate Shafeek Ahmed Ansari beat Samajwadi Party’s Anuradha Chauhan by 8,824 votes. BJP had given both Assembly seats to Apna Dal-S.

The Jalandhar Lok Sabha constituency witnessed a record of sorts as the Aam Aadmi Party wrested power from the Congress, which has been retaining the seat for the past 24 years. AAP’s Sushil Kumar Rinku won with a thumping margin of over 58,000 votes, defeating Congress’ Karamjit Kaur.

BJD’s Dipali Das won the Jharsuguda Assembly bypoll in Odisha, defeating her Tankadhar Tripathy of BJP by over 48,000 votes. The 27-year-old had debuted in electoral politics this year, following the murder of her father and BJD veteran, Naba Kisore Das.

Sohiong constituency in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya, which is reserved for Scheduled Tribe candidates, witnessed a 91.87 percent voter turnout for the bypolls. 

United Democratic Party candidate Synshar Kupar Roy Thabah won the Sohiong assembly seat, defeating his NPP nominee by over 3,400 votes.

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