With the BJP set to emerge as the single largest party in Karnataka, its leaders described today's Assembly poll results as an endorsement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's development agenda and claimed that the people had rejected the divisive, toxic and negative politics of the Congress.
According to Election Commission (EC) figures at 3 pm, the BJP had won 57 seats and was leading in 47 segments, well on course to emerge as the single largest party in the southern state. The ruling Congress had won 29 seats and was leading in 49 constituencies.
Buoyed by the emerging picture, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad took a swipe at Congress president Rahul Gandhi, saying someone was dreaming of becoming the prime minister, a reference to Gandhi's statement during the Karnataka poll campaign that he was ready for the top post if his party won the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
Prasad's cabinet colleague, Nirmala Sitharaman, said it was a historic day for the BJP and the results were an endorsement of Modi's development agenda.
The people had rejected the divisive, toxic and negative politics of the Congress, she added.
Another Union minister, Nitin Gadkari, hailed the BJP's performance in the southern state and said the results and trends available till now virtually proved that the saffron party's "Congress-free India" slogan was turning out to be true.
"We had been talking about a Congress-free India. The Karnataka poll results are virtually proving that. The Congress is not in power in any of the key states, barring Punjab. The condition of the Congress is such that it is opposing (the BJP) for the sake of opposing," he added.
Stating that the poll results underlined the faith of the people in Modi's leadership and the BJP's ideology, Prasad exuded confidence that the party would retain power at the Centre after the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
Prakash Javadekar, another Union minister who was also the BJP in-charge for the Karnataka election, said the saffron party performed better than the Congress as it was a party of the masses, while the latter was a party of dynasts.
Polling for the 222 of the 224 Assembly seats in Karnataka was held on May 12.
Polling for the R R Nagar seat was deferred on account of alleged electoral malpractices, while it was countermanded in the Jayanagar seat, following the death of the BJP candidate.