Bangalore: Karnataka on Wednesday avoided the dubious distinction of delivering a fractured mandate for the third time in a row by giving clear victory for Congress and remained true to its reputation as a graveyard of regional outfits. Two regional parties were founded in just over a year by two former Bharatiya Janata Party leaders with the aim of ousting the "corrupt" national parties, the Congress and the BJP, from the state.
The Congress was set to win 121 seats and was ahead in two while the BJP and the Janata Dal-Secular were tied at second place with 40 wins each. As the millions of votes polled Sunday to elect the state's 14th assembly were counted on Wednesday, the parties formed by former BJP chief minister BS Yeddyurappa and former BJP minister B Sriramulu were set to win less than 10 seats together.
While Yeddyurappa at least had the satisfaction of realising his dream of defeating the BJP, Sriramulu had the mortification of seeing the only glamour quotient in his party, Kannada actress Pooja Gandhi, defeated in Raichur in north Karnataka, supposedly his stronghold.
Yeddyurappa retained his home seat of Shikaripura in Shimoga district but suffered a massive defeat personally when his staunch loyalist and the only woman minister in the BJP government Shobha Karandlaje was relegated to third place in Rajajinagar in Bangalore.
He had pitted her against Law Minister S Suresh Kumar who retained the seat. The Congress took second place. The Yeddyurappa-led Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) was set to win six seats out of the 223 seats it contested. Polling was held only for 223 seats as in one constituency it has been put off to this month-end following the death of the BJP candidate.
The BSR Congress of Sriramulu, a loyalist of jailed mining baron G Janardhana Reddy, was likely to bag four seats out of the large number of seats it contested. The earlier efforts to build regional parties were made by former chief ministers D Devraj Urs, S Bangarappa and Ramakrishna Hegde. The three have since passed away.