NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut, CPI leader D. Raja, JKNK Chief Farooq Abdullah and others in 2022 | Photo: PTI
New Delhi: Opposition leaders on Saturday lauded the Congress' splendid performance in Karnataka and thanked the people of the state, saying that this win has shown that "Modi is not invincible" and that they should work together to win 2024 to restore democracy and constitutional values in India.
Thanking the people of Karnataka, Congress party workers and leaders, Rahul Gandhi said,"I am happy we contested the Karnataka polls without using hate, bad language. We fought the polls with love. In Karnataka, 'nafrat ka bazaar (market of hate)' has closed down', 'mohabbat ki dukaanein' (shops of love) have opened."
The Congress victory also comes at a time when opposition leaders like Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and NCP chief Sharad Pawar are making renewed efforts to forge unity among the non-NDA parties to take on the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections next year.
"Beginning of the end for BJP before 2024 Lok Sabha polls", said West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC head Mamata Banerjee.
"My salutations to the people of Karnataka for their decisive mandate in favour of change!! Brute authoritarian and majoritarian politics is vanquished!! When people want plurality and democratic forces to win, no central design to dominate can repress their spontaneity: that is the moral of the story, lesson for tomorrow," she said in a tweet.
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said a Congress victory sends the message that the "end of the BJP's negative, communal and corrupt politics" has begun.
Yadav said in a tweet in Hindi, "the message from Karnataka is that the 'antkaal (end)' of the BJP's negative, communal, corrupt, pro-rich, anti-women, anti-youth, socially divisive, propaganda, individual-centric politics has begun." "This is a strict mandate of a new positive India against inflation, unemployment, corruption and animosity," he added.
Welcoming the Congress' performance in Karnataka polls, the ruling CPI(M) and opposition parties in Kerala said it was an indication of public sentiment against BJP's alleged divisive and communal politics.
"Pro-poor promises and secular stance helped Congress to score the historic Karnataka victory. It urges them to learn the necessary lessons and to be more responsible in national politics. Modi is never invincible. If all secular forces are united, 2024 will see the end of BJP Raj," said Communist Party of India (CPI) MP Binoy Viswam.
Attacking the BJP, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin listed a slew of issues that he claimed worked against the saffron party.
"Congrats @INCIndia on the spectacular winning of Karnataka. The unjustifiable disqualification of brother @RahulGandhi as MP, misusing premier investigative agencies against political opponents, imposing Hindi, rampant corruption have all echoed in the minds of Karnataka people while voting and they have upheld the #KannadigaPride by teaching a befitting lesson to BJP's vindictive politics.
"The landmass of the Dravidian family stands clear of BJP. Now let us all work together to win 2024 to restore democracy and constitutional values in India," he said in a tweet.
JD(U), which is enthused by its leader Nitish Kumar playing a "national role" by uniting parties opposed to the BJP, but with the caveat that he was himself not a claimant for Prime Ministership said Karnataka is now going to be "BJP-mukt".
"In Karnataka, the BJP tried every trick in the book and played the communal card to the hilt. Even the Prime Minister campaigned in a manner that was unbecoming of his high office. But all these tricks failed, under the weight of the corruption of the BJP government in Karnataka which is now going to be BJP-mukt", tweeted JD(U) national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan.
He added, "In the recent past, the BJP has been ousted from power in Karnataka and the Delhi Nagar Nigam. This year, Madhya Pradesh shall be BJP-mukt and so will be the country in 2024…… just wait".
Shivanand Tiwary, national vice president of the RJD, the largest constituent of the 'Mahagathbandhan' said, "the mandate in Karnataka sends out the clear message – formation of a new government, after the Lok Sabha polls, under a new Prime Minister, is possible".
In a statement, the veteran socialist leader also claimed that "more than the BJP, the defeat is that of Narendra Modi, who ran a fantastically frenzied campaign. The way he chanted the name of Bajrang Bali showed scant regard for the post he holds and the fact that he is watched the world over".
Makkal Needhi Maiam chief Kamal Haasan congratulated Rahul Gandhi for the "significant victory".
Taking to Twitter, he said,"just as Gandhiji, you walked your way into peoples hearts and as he did you demonstrated that in your gentle way, you can shake the powers of the world -with love and humility. Your credible and creditable approach, without bravado or chest-thumping, has ushered a breath of fresh air for the people."
"You trusted the people of Karnataka to reject divisiveness, who in turn have unitedly reciprocated by placing their faith in you. Kudos for not just the victory but also for the manner of victory!", he added.
Describing the assembly poll results as a "ray of hope", PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti said she hoped that the rest of the country will also reject "communal politics" and vote for its development and prosperity.
"The BJP tried its best to communalise the situation as is their habit. They even brought Bajrangbali, religion, Hindu-Muslim to the discourse...Despite that, people kept these issues on the sidelines and chose the issue of development on which the Congress ran its campaign," the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said.
"I hope people across the country will also reject communal politics and vote for the country's development and prosperity," Mufti added.
TMC MP Mahua Moitra tweeted, "thank you Karnataka for choosing LPG over Bajrangbaliji."
CPI (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya also thanked the people of the state for the mandate.
"Thank you #Karnataka for giving such a fitting rebuff to not just the corrupt and non-performing Bommai regime but to the hate-filled and arrogant Modi-Shah-Yogi campaign. It has set the stage for the forthcoming elections and encouraged every defender of democracy across India," he said in a tweet.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister and Congress leader Bhupesh Baghel said the BJP's attempts to polarise the polls proved futile and people's mandate in the southern state shows that Bajrangbali' is with the grand old party.
He described BJP's electoral performance in Karnataka as the defeat of Modi and said he had centered the saffron party's entire election campaign around himself and this loss is his loss.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said Karnataka has chosen the politics of development over communal politics.
"This will be repeated in the upcoming assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Telangana as well," Gehlot said in a tweet in Hindi.
Assembly elections in these four states are due later this year.
The Congress crossed the 113-seat mark on Saturday in the 224-member Karnataka assembly polls, the majority required to form the government and defeated the incumbent BJP.