Modi's party claims victory in crucial Indian state election

But a post poll alliance could still shatter Bharatiya Janata Party's dreams
Modi's party claims victory in crucial Indian state election

Supporters of India's Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) celebrate election results as they hold posters of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in front of the BJP state party office in Bangalore on May 15. (Photo by Manjunath Kiran/AFP)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party emerged winning more seats in a crucial election in the southern Indian state of Karnataka in a major setback to their rival Congress party, setting the tone for national elections early next year.

Modi's pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is poised to win more than 112 seats, the simple majority needed in the 224-seat house to form the government as counting progressed May 15.

Congress party is set to win 75 seats, which the local Janata Dal (Secular) party could garner some 40 seats, shows the early results of counting of votes for 222 seats. Voting in two seats were countermand.

Official declaration of seats and victory will have to wait till the end of the working day.

A jubilant BJP has termed the party's victory as historic. BJP leaders like Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the people of Karnataka have rejected the "toxic and negative politics of Congress."

BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad termed it as "a victory of a Narendra Modi-led campaign. People of Karnataka, irrespective of caste and creed, reposed their faith in his programs and policies," Prasad, federal law and justice minister, told reporters.

Despite BJP leaders projecting themselves victorious, a post poll alliance of Congress and JDS, could still shatter the BJP's dreams of forming government in Karnataka.

However, media discussions project the BJP victory as indicative of trends that could sweep the national elections due in May next year. Congress had been working for victory in Karnataka to lift the sagging spirit of its workers in preparation for the national elections.

The Congress, the grand old party that ruled India for most its seven-decade history as a free nation, could be reduced to insignificance if it fails for form the government. The party runs governments in just two of India's 29 states, Punjab and Mizoram.

Some have credited BJP's victories to Modi's oratorical skills and his promises of corruption-free governance and socio-economic development. 


Christians not worried

Catholic leader A.C. Michael said the results clearly show the strength of the BJP.

"The result should now help the unity of all BJP-opposing parties to stand together to protect India's secular and democratic ethos," in the run up to the national elections. "It is time for all secular minded people to come together," Michael said.

Leaders of religious minorities such as Christians and Muslims have complained of increased attacks on their people ever since the BJP took power in New Delhi. They say BJP policies tacitly help the ideology of building a nation based on Hindu hegemony.

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Bishop Henry D'Souza of Bellary Diocese in the state said he welcomed and respected the people's will expressed through the ballot.

"There may be some fears and challenges about religious amity and peace. But the civil society and constitutional systems are capable of dealing with them," Bishop D'Souza told

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