The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) emergence as the single largest party in Karnataka has the potential to put it on the comeback trail to power in New Delhi. The state is home to 28 Lok Sabha seats, vital to any party that seeks to form a government at the Centre. Victory in the assembly, when parliamentary elections are around the bend, should give some comfort to the BJP for the bigger battle.
The win also gives the BJP benefits that are intangible at the moment. After Gujarat, a win in Karnataka softens that hard Hindutva image of the party to an extent: former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and other state leaders do not invoke hardline images. Equally, the win firms the BJP’s presence in a region of the country where its presence has traditionally been poor.
The results also demonstrate that populist promises of the kind made by the Congress in Karnataka don’t work. Yet it persists with ruinous policies (see the editorials). It should revise its thinking on this count.