Mallikarjun Kharge, the veteran Congress leader, who until Thursday was called “sollilada saradara" (chieftain who has never lost), tasted his first loss in his 12th electoral outing since his electoral debut in 1972.
Kharge was defeated by his former aide-turned-rival, Umesh Jadhav, a former Congress legislator who fought on a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket.
Kharge was trailing by over 95,168 votes at the time of filing this report. Final number is likely to change.
Kharge was not the only veteran to fall prey to the massive Modi wave that swept Karnataka as other senior leaders also tasted defeat from relatively unknown candidates. The BJP won 25 out of 28 seats, the highest since 1989 and its vote share was the highest 1984.
The BJP had also backed the candidature of Sumalatha Amarnath (Sumalatha Ambareesh), the independent candidate from Mandya against H.D.Kumaraswamy’s son, Nikhil.
Former Prime Minister H.D.Deve Gowda, has won seven terms to the state assembly since 1962 and six terms as member of parliament since 1991, lost to G.S. Basavaraj of the BJP in Tumakuru. Though it was not yet officially declared, most votes were already counted and Deve Gowda had a deficit of 12387 votes against Basavaraj.
The defeat of these veterans changing the old guard of Karnataka politics and making way for fresh faces, mostly from the BJP.
“I thank the voters, leaders, party workers of both @JanataDal_S & @INCIndia and everyone who supported me. Our work towards betterment of the society will never stop.
Congratulations to all the elected MPs. Congratulations to @narendramodi on the big victory," Deve Gowda wrote on Twitter.
87 year old Deve Gowda, who had earlier declared that this would be his last election, given an unceremonious exit to a political career spanning over five decades.
“The people of these two constituencies (Tumakuru and Kalaburagi) have meted out injustice to the state by defeating Deve Gowda and Kharge," said former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah.
Several others like former railways minister K.H.Muniyappa and former Karnataka chief minister Veerappa Moily lost their seats, ending their respective runs in electoral outings spanning years, if not decades.
Muniyappa lost to S.Muniswamy, the 44 year old little known corporator from Bengaluru by a margin of more than two lakh votes while Moily lost to B.N.Bache Gowda, a former BJP minister by over 1.8 lakh votes.
“If it was going to be Deve Gowda versus Basavaraj, then Deve Gowda would have won. But it became Modi versus Deve Gowda," C.T.Ravi, BJP’s state general secretary said.
The BJP had expected some of these seats to be on the edge but turned into their favour, surprising even the best number crunchers within the party.