Congress set to rule Karnataka; JD(S) springs a surprise

With most of the results for the Karnataka election having come in, the Congress is set to win a comfortable majority, returning to power in the state after more than six years.

karnataka ParliamentWhile the Congress win was expected, the surprise has been sprung by former prime minister H D Deve Gowda's Janata Dal (Secular), which has relegated the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party to a humiliating third position.

H D Kumaraswamy, son of Deve Gowda, said today he will quit his seat in the Lok Sabha to lead the JD(S) as Karnataka's main opposition party.

Kumaraswamy ruled out an alliance with the Congress in case the latter does not make the halfway mark – an unlikely possibility now.

"We will fight against Congress like we fought against BJP ... we will sit in the opposition; Congress will not come to our house, there are other small parties," said Kumaraswamy, who as state party president led the JD(S) campaign.

A JD(S) spokesman, Danish Ali, said that while his party did all the hard work to highlight the BJP's failings in the last five years, the Congress, which had been a "mute spectator", has reaped the benefits.

The JD(S) had a brief marriage with the BJP in 2006 in a ruling coalition before parting ways, and has since been a bitter opponent. Before that, in 2004, the JD(S) had partnered the Congress to form a government which lasted till Kumaraswamy engineered a divorce to ally with the BJP.

Union minister for information and broadcasting Manish Tewari of the Congress today cleverly used the Karnataka results to point a finger at the BJP's disruptive tactics at the centre.

He told reporters, ''The people of Karnataka have voted. If you really look back, over the manner in which parliament has been disrupted in the last fortnight, it is very evident that the entire charade was orchestrated for the Karnataka elections.''

A BJP spokesman, however, was quick to dismiss ''this accidental fluke victory of the Congress'' which was the result of ''a split in BJP votes''.