For Congress, a rare election win in Karnataka is likely
Bangalore: Crony capitalism, plunder of resources and corruption in government are usually issues main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party loves to talk about, but not in Karnataka, where it faces elections after five chaotic years in power. Polls show the Congress party, which heads the central government, is likely to win the Karnataka elections on Sunday, after what critics say is shoddy governance by the BJP in the state.
A win for Congress would be a morale-booster as it heads for national elections that must be held by the middle of next year, but it is battling its own series of corruption scandals, including over the sale of the 2G telecommunications spectrum and coal-field licences. "The Karnataka government has created a world record in corruption," Rahul Gandhi, scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty and a contender for prime minister in 2014, said at a recent Congress rally in Karnataka.
In Karnataka, the BJP's image has been dented by a $3 billion illegal iron-ore mining scandal and political infighting that has led to the three different chief ministers in the past five years. A decisive victory in Karnataka will boost the Congress party. "Basically everyone (in Congress) will be able to stand up and say - look at the corrupt BJP that was voted out in Karnataka," said Rajeev Gowda, a Karnataka Congress spokesman.
But a weaker than expected performance, perhaps with votes going to a smaller regional party, would be a blow to Gandhi, who is battling perceptions he is a reluctant and ineffective leader. Congress also has to deal with public ire at a national level over scandals and a slowing economy after nearly a decade in power. It has suffered losses in other elections, including in Uttar Pradesh, the country's largest state.