As the dust settles down on the high-voltage, fiercely fought battle for Karnataka, the fate of the two principal adversaries, lies in the hands of the people. As has been said by several analysts, the people's court will come into play now.
Some of the highlights of the campaign include Prime Minister, Narendra Modi's whirlwind tour of Karnataka towards the end of the high-octane battle for votes. It showcased the significance the BJP attaches to the Karnataka polls, as did the roping in of Yogi Adityanath for campaigning in the sensitive coastal belt. It has rightly been said that Karnataka may well prove to be a bellwether, in terms of electoral behaviour and voting pattern for 2019. As much as the BJP may try to downplay this fact, it stares us in the face.
Amit Shah threw himself into the campaign addressing rallies and organising meetings, while PM Modi conducted his whistle-stop tour adding punch and lending a much-needed impetus to the BJP campaign. The question however, is whether it is enough to carry the ruling party at the Centre, over the line.
The Congress, powered by Rahul Gandhi's presence in a state in which it is at the helm of affairs, staged an equally hectic campaign. Sonia Gandhi made her appearance after two years, showing the importance it accorded to the Karnataka election in the Congress scheme of things, as well. Sonia, Rahul, and Siddaramaiah matched Modi and Shah, barb for barb, strike for strike and snipe for snipe. Towards the end, along with a battery of other leaders, former Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh also joined the Congress campaign. The Karnataka Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah has been battling anti-incumbency, but has proved his mettle with his organisational skills. The question is--will the BJP's corruption charges against him stick? We'll know on Tuesday, when the counting gets done.
The election was fought in the twitter war zone too. Both Rahul Gandhi and Siddaramaiah led an army of twitter followers who were stinging in their digs and responses. They sparred with each other in the virtual world hour after hour in the days and weeks leading to the final hours of campaigning.
Where does all this leave veteran JD(S) leader, Deve Gowda's party? His son, Kumaraswamy Gowda, has led a fierce campaign and has been backed by a number of other parties, including the AIMIM. While many say that the JD(S) will be a king-maker and will hold the key to government formation, Kumaraswamy has asserted on more than one occasion, that his party would emerge as the 'king' and would be the largest single party. There has been talk of the JD(S) sailing with the BJP in a likely post-poll pact. This has been refuted strongly by both Kumaraswamy and his father. The former Prime Minister has gone to the extent of saying emphatically that he would disown his son should he try to forge a tie-up with the BJP.
Come tomorrow and Karnataka will decide and the world will know which way the state has swung on Tuesday. All parties have done all that they could. All important and insignificant issues came to the fore. It was an election where flotsam and treasure bobbed on the waves with the public at large, equally indifferent to both. A campaign in which the leaders "spoke of many things," to recollect Lewis Carroll's lines--one in which "ships and shoes, and sealing wax/cabbages and kings", found equal prominence. In the end, it remains to be seen if there was one tipping point in the election such as according the status of a separate religion to Lingayats, which could decide the fate of both the parties.