Accepting the defeat with utmost humility
New Delhi/ Bengaluru: The BJP on Sunday claimed that it contested the just concluded Assembly elections in Karnataka on the development agenda of the "double engine government" and not the Hindutva agenda. The saffron party, which witnessed a crushing defeat in the state, blamed the Congress and its manifesto for polarising the people. The party also asserted that it will do a detailed analysis, constituency-wise, to find out the reasons for the poll debacle.
In the May 10 elections to the 224-member Assembly, the Congress bagged 135 seats, while the ruling BJP and the former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda-led Janata Dal(S) secured 66 and 19, respectively.
Rejecting the Congress' claim that it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi's defeat, outgoing CM Basavaraj Bommai said multiple factors have contributed to the party's poor performance and they will all be analysed. A meeting of all newly-elected members and candidates will be held soon in this regard.
Some BJP leaders, including Mr Bommai, met under the leadership of state BJP president Nalin Kumar Kateel at the party headquarters in Bengaluru on Sunday and held discussions.
"We have had informal discussions regarding the results and getting information from various regions. We have come to the decision to do a detailed analysis of the overall results and to get a constituency-wise analysis," Mr Bommai said.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, Mr Bommai said that despite the BJP's vote share remaining the same, seats have come down. The analysis of constituency-wise vote share may give reasons for it, like segment-wise anti-incumbency, among others.
"It has also been decided to call a meeting of all elected members, followed by a meeting of all candidates, to have detailed discussions regarding organising and strengthening the party in the days to come," he added.
Stating that the BJP doesn't work only for elections, Mr Bommai said organising the party is a constant process.
Citing the example of the 2013 Assembly polls, when the BJP got just 40 seats, he said, "But in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the party got 19 seats. Today, we are in an even better position and will make all preparations for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls in the days to come."
Karnataka has 28 seats in the Lok Sabha, of which the BJP currently holds 25.
"Accepting the defeat with utmost humility, we will identify the reasons for it, rectify them and move forward," he added.
Responding to a question on the Congress terming the Karnataka poll outcome as Mr Modi's defeat, the CM said, "It cannot be Mr Modi's defeat. Mr Modi is for the entire country, not just Karnataka. He had come to campaign here. The Congress might have won in Karnataka but it has seen defeat across the country. Is it the win of local leaders or state leaders?"
Answering a question on the possibility of Mr Kateel resigning and taking responsibility for the poll defeat, Mr Bommai said there is no such question and it has not been discussed.
He also said that no discussions have taken place as to who will be the Leader of the Opposition.
Claiming that the BJP did not fight this election on the basis of the Hindutva agenda, the CM said in response to a question: "It is in some people's minds. We fought on the basis of the development agenda of the double-engine government. It was the Congress and its manifesto that tried to polarise the people."
Regarding the Congress doing well in the Lingayat belt, he said, "Whether it is the Lingayat belt or the Vokkaliga belt, it is the combination of communities. It is not just one community that will make you win or lose... It also depends on the selection and incumbency of the candidate, so we will do a detailed analysis."