The ‘famous five’ that turned the tide for Congress in Karnataka

By Anand Singh(IANS)-

With the Congress all set to return to power with a clear mandate in Karnataka, the grand old party seems to be reaping the benefits of its pin-pointed campaign and the five promises it made to the people of the southern state, party leaders said on Saturday.

The polling for the 224-member Karnataka Assembly was held on May 10 after the Congress ran a spirited campaign with five top leaders playing a significant role.

From the party’s election manifesto to its aggressive campaign, all the points highlighted by Congress drew the immediate attention of the people of the southern state.

Party leaders like G. Parmeshwara, state in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala, M.B. Patil, Shashikant Sethil and Sunil Kanugolu played an important role in ensuring the party’s landslide victory.

Surjewala was appointed as Karnataka in-charge in place of Congress General Secretary (Organisation) K.C. Venugopal in 2020, while, Patil, a powerful Lingayat leader, was made the chairperson of the campaign committee.

The party leaders also said that Patil was behind designing the aggressive campaign in the state with back-to-back public meetings of Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, and rallies and roadshows by former party chief Rahul Gandhi and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

He also focused on a door-to-door campaign to woo the voters, besides organizing a public meeting of former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in the state after a gap of four years.

Patil is considered close to Siddaramaiah and had also handled several important portfolios in the state government earlier.

Meanwhile, Parmeshwara was made the chairperson of the Manifesto, Policy, and Vision Committee.

After its release, Congress’ election manifesto became the talk of the town as it promised to impose a ban on Bajrang Dal if voted to power.

The manifesto soon garnered the attention of the people and also drew criticism from several quarters.

Apart from the promise to ban Bajrang Dal, the party also announced four more crucial guarantees in its manifesto — ‘Gruha Jyothi’ (200 units of free electricity), ‘Gruha Lakshmi’ (Rs 2,000 monthly allowance to every woman head of the family), ‘Anna Bhagya’ (10 kg food grains of choice to every person in a BPL family) and free travel for women in Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation and Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation buses.

The manifesto also had something for the different regions of the state, such as the coastal region, where the party was hoping to gain more seats as compared to the previous elections.

The party’s “40 percent commission Sarkar” campaign also seemed to have struck a chord with the people, who gave a cold shoulder to the Bajrang Dal vs Bajrang Bali debate.

In the 2018 elections, the BJP won 104 seats, the Congress 80 and the JD(S) 37. BJP’s B.S. Yediyurappa had formed the government but he resigned before a majority test. Then, the Congress and the JD(S) formed a coalition government, which lasted just 14 months after which 16 MLAs switched to the BJP, toppling the government and bringing the BJP back in power..

However, this time the Congress is all set to win 136 seats in the southern state, while the BJP and the JD(S) will have to settle with 65 and 19 seats, respectively.

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