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Karnataka elections results marked "BJP-free South India": Mallikarjun Kharge

Bengaluru: With the Congress' emphatic victory in the Karnataka elections on Saturday, ousting the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from power in the only southern state ruled by it, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge said the election results marked a "BJP-free South India".

Adressing Congress workers at State party headquarters, Kharge said, "We started from Mekedatu (padayatra). Then came the Bharat Jodo Yatra from Kanniyakumari to Kashmir. We have won almost 99 per cent of the seats in the route in which Rahul Gandhi walked. I thank him for that." Kharge attributed the victory to the people of Karnataka.

He said, "Ego does not stay for long. It is a democracy and we will have to listen to people and bow our heads before those who show us the right path. It is not a victory of anyone. This victory belongs to the people of the state. They decided and chose. That is why we got 136 seats - huge after 36 years."

"It is a big victory. Through this, new energy emerged in the whole nation. BJP used to taunt us and say that 'we will make Congress mukt Bharat'. Now the truth is that it is 'BJP mukt south India," added Kharge.

The Congress chief further said, "You all people should be united like this only then we can win the war and then only the country can be saved. if you want democratic government everywhere then we have to fight the bigger battle in the coming elections."

Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said Karnataka election results opened the pathway to save democracy.

"Karnataka has given a new mantra to save democracy. It is a pathway to save democracy and Constitution across India. Prime Minister said 'Congress Mukt Bharat' but the people of Karnataka ensured that 'BJP Mukt South India'. People opened shops of love and closed the shops of hatred," Surjewala said.
Former chief minister Siddaramaiah informed that Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting will be held on Sunday.

"We will get almost all congress MLAs tomorrow in CLP. It is a win of 7 crore Kannadigas. It is not just the win of Congress or leaders. When BJP came to power, they never came to power with the blessings of the people, they came to post through 'operation Kamala'.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge held a meeting with top leaders of the party from the State.
Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar and former chief minister Siddaramaiah were present at the meeting held at Kharge's residence.

DK Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah also felicitated Kharge as Congress sweeps the Karnataka polls.
Pertinent to mention, the Karnataka election was a major victory for Congress after Kharge assumed as party president earlier this year.

Congress won an emphatic victory in Karnataka polls on Saturday, pushing BJP out of power in the only southern state it ruled, and boosting its own prospects for the electoral battles ahead.

According to the latest trends of the Election Commission of India, Congress has won 134 seats and is leading in two more seats. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has won 64 seats and is leading on one.
Janata Dal-Secular (JDS) has won 19 seats. Independents have won two seats while Kalyana Rajya Pragathi Paksha and Sarvodaya Karnataka Paksha have won one seat each.

The Congress maintained a lead from the morning when counting began for the assembly seats in the fiercely contested election.

Notably, Karnataka Congress president DK Shivakumar defeated JDS candidate B Nagaraju in the Kanakapura constituency by 1,22,392 votes.

An incumbent government has not returned to power in Karnataka after a full term of five years since 1985.
In the 2018 assembly polls, BJP emerged as the single largest party with 104 seats, Congress won 80 seats and JD(S) got 37 seats.

The Congress victory has come at a time when it is seeking momentum ahead of assembly polls later this year in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Telangana and the Lok Sabha polls next year.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Congress over its victory in assembly polls. He appreciated the hard work of BJP workers and said that the party will serve Karnataka with even more vigour in the times to come

"Congratulations to the Congress Party for their victory in the Karnataka Assembly polls. My best wishes to them in fulfilling people's aspirations," PM Modi said in a tweet.

"I thank all those who have supported us in the Karnataka elections. I appreciate the hardwork of BJP Karyakartas. We shall serve Karnataka with even more vigour in the times to come," he added.
The next task for the Congress is to choose a chief ministerial candidate with both state Congress chief DK Shivakumar and former chief minister Siddaramaiah aspirants for the post.

Congress leader and former MP Rahul Gandhi hailed the party's victory in Karnataka assembly polls and said that people of the state defeated the "politics of hate".

Speaking to reporters at the Congress headquarters in the national capital, Rahul Gandhi said that the Congress stood with the poor.

"The poor defeated crony capitalists in Karnataka...We fought the elections with love...," he said.
"I want to thank all the party leaders and workers in Karnataka. 'Karnataka mein Nafrat ki bazaar band hui hai, Mohabbat ki dukaane khuli hai'. We fought on the issues of the poor. We did not fight this battle using hatred and wrong words. This will happen in every state," Rahul Gandhi said.

Rahul Gandhi coined the 'Nafrat ki bazaar band hui hai, Mohabbat ki dukaane khuli hai' phrase "during the Bharat Jodo Yatra.

"Poor people defeated crony capitalists in Karnataka. We didn't fight this battle using hatred..." he said.
Chief Minister Basavraj Bommai had conceded defeat as trends showed a massive Congress surge.
He said BJP will emerge victorious in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.
Bommai won with a margin of 35,978 votes from Shiggaon constituency but many of his ministerial colleagues lost.

"...I take responsibility for this debacle. There are multiple reasons for this. We will find out all the reasons and strengthen the party once again for Parliament elections..," he said.
Karnataka went to the polls on May 10 for the 224-member state assembly and saw a record polling of 72.68 per cent. A party needs 113 seats to get the majority. (ANI)

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