One more state has gone to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with the party returning to power in Karnataka after five years. Led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah, the BJP decimated the Congress in Karnataka Assembly elections 2018 to secure a majority on its own in the state.
With Karnataka in its kitty, the BJP is now in power in 21 states of India and its footprint is across all the regions of India - West, North, East, Northeast and now South too. The party had managed to win Karnataka Assembly elections in 2008 too but lost the next polls to Siddaramaiah-led Congress in 2013.
In the last five years, the BJP has perfected the art of crushing its rivals. Starting with the superlative win in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Modi-Shah combine has delivered one state after another. While Narendra Modi addressed 21 rallies during Karnataka Assembly elections covering 169 seats, Shah held the fort in 51 rallies encompassing 174 constituencies. On the other hand, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had 47 rallies in 109 seats.
The BJP buoyed by its massive wins in several states over the last few years put its money on winnability and brought back BS Yeddyurappa as its chief ministerial candidate. Yeddyurappa was the chief minister from May 30, 2008, to July 31, 2011, following corruption allegations. He even quit the BJP to form Karnataka Janata Paksha (KJP) but only managed to ensure the decimation of the BJP as well as his party in the 2013 elections. He merged his party with the BJP in January 2014.
As the dates of Karnataka Assembly elections neared, the BJP also announced him as the chief ministerial candidate with Amit Shah backing his wholeheartedly to ensure a win. While he along with Narendra Modi and Yeddyurappa were the heavyweight campaigners, the BJP workers along with its allied organisations took on the Congress directly and launched an extremely aggressive campaign.
The clarion call of "Congress-mukt Bharat" echoed non-stop during the election campaign as Shah and his team went all out to highlight every shortcoming of the Congress government. Even history was on the BJP's side as no party after 1985 has managed to win two consecutive Assembly elections.
From 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP has increased its footprint from seven states to 22 in May 2018 with the win in Karnataka. During the same period, the Congress has shrunk from 13 states to now just Punjab, Puducherry and Mizoram.