The success of Karnataka's ruling alliance in the current round of by-elections a "moral victory" and it was an answer to the BJP claims that the tie-up with the Congress will prove short-lived, Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said today. The partnership, he told NDTV, is so strong that they expect to win Shivamogga too in the next year's general elections.
In the by-elections for three Lok Sabha seats — Ballari, Mandya and Shivamogga — and assembly seats Ramanagara and Jamakhandi, the BJP has managed to retain only Shivamogga, the bastion of its state chief BS Yeddyurappa.
While Mr Kumaraswamy's Janata Dal Secular has retained Mandya, the Congress has wrested Ballari, the BJP's long-held stronghold located in the mining-rich backyard of party strongmen, the Reddy brothers and their aide Sriramulu.
"The BJP always picked on the coalition. People have given their answer. They kept saying all of this was politics. But we have an answer today," Mr Kumaswamy said.
While Mr Kumaraswamy thanked senior Congress leaders DK Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah for the success, his words indicated reservations about the defeat in Shivamogga. "There were a lot of people who opposed the alliance and the decisions. If we were prepared properly, we could have also won Shivamogga," he said.
The alliance, he later explained to NDTV, would have "done better if the Congress gave up the Shivamogga seat much earlier". The JD(S), he said, "would have done far better over there, but they (the Congress) left it at the last minute".
The leaders of the alliance, Mr Kumaswamy said, has already started talks about seat sharing between the two parties in the next year's Lok Sabha elections.
People across the country, he said, "are blessing us (alliances)" and the trend, he said, will hold in the national elections as well. "If you see by-elections across the country, wherever there is a BJP vs alliance battle, the BJP has lost," he said, referring to the by-elections in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar earlier this year, where the BJP was beaten by the combined forces of Mayawati and Samajwadi chief Akhilesh Yadav.