Dharwad: The massive victory of the Congress in the seven districts of north Karnataka is considered as a major setback for the BJP in its bastion.
The BJP, which held 40 seats out of the 56 in the region (after defections), was trailing in several constituencies.
In Belagavi, Uttar Kannada, Haveri, Gadag, Vijayapura, Bagalokot, and Dharwad, the presence of the Lingayat community is high and the community, which has been traditional supporters of the BJP, seemed to have supported the Congress this time, the results showed.
Even though former Chief Minister, Jagadish Shettar, who had switched from the BJP to the Congress, lost this seat of Hubbali-Central Dharwad, the manner in which he was forced to leave the BJP was not taken well by the Lingayat community.
The All India Veerashaiva Community of the Lingayats also openly extended their support to the Congress and this was a major boost for the Congress in the run-up to the elections.
Former Deputy Chief Minister Laxman Savadi, who had also left the BJP for the Congress, has won from his traditional seat of Athani in Belagavi district. Savadi is a powerful leader belonging to the Lingayat community and he was also forced out of the BJP by the party leadership including B.L. Santhosh and Basavaraj Bommai.
These two high-profile exits from the BJP seem to have affected the saffron party in north Karnataka which has been a bastion of the BJP for years, and will lead to several questions for the party’s national leadership.