Bypoll signals: Congress-JD(S) alliance puts BJP on the back foot in Karnataka

A favourable 4-1 verdict has been achieved in Karnataka bypolls by the Congress-JD(S) alliance which will eventually boost their spirits, as well as similar alliances taking place elsewhere as it indicates they can counter the BJP poll power. Already, Congress is in seat-sharing or a grand alliance in neighbouring Telangana.

The Karnataka bypolls were a test of the Congress-JD(S) chemistry on the ground and both have performed creditably. If the alliance survives into 2019 then it could turn out to be dangerous for BJP, which had won 17 of Karnataka’s 28 Lok Sabha constituencies in 2014 and fell just short of the majority in this year’s assembly polls.

Congress appears to be reviving even where JD(S) is a minor player and has few votes to transfer.

The bypoll results must be seen as a setback for the BJP as Karnataka is BJP’s sole bastion in the south. The Congress-JD(S) government has overcome many a crisis and survived despite uneasiness among state Congress satraps.

Despite their limited extent, the Karnataka bypolls made another case for opposition unity as they showed that alliances can succeed. BJP has to worry that its analysis of opportunistic alliances offering weak governance did not find traction with voters.