‘I delivered…’ – an emotional Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar’s message to his party Saturday morning shortly after the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party conceded defeat in the 2023 Karnataka Assembly election. “I assured Sonia Gandhiji, Rahul Gandhiji and Priyanka Gandhiji, and (Congress boss) Mallikarjun Khargeji I will deliver Karnataka to the fold…” he said.
DKS, as the Congress’ troubleshooter is popularly known, also broke down and cried as he recalled Sonia Gandhi’s visit while he was in Delhi’s Tihar Jail on money-laundering charges.
READ | DK Shivakumar gets emotional as he recalls Sonia Gandhi’s jail visit
The Congress on Saturday scripted a remarkable win in Karnataka – a state that has voted out the incumbent government in every election since 1985 – with leads in over 130 seats and wins in four as of 1.30 pm.
A BJP confident of retaining power after a high-wattage campaign featuring prime minister Narendra Modi, union home minister Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath fell apart after taking an early lead.
Karnataka election results LIVE | Rampant Congress leads in over 130 seats
Shivakumar and ex-chief minister Siddaramaiah have been the focal point of the Congress’ campaign to win back Karnataka – the first state it has won since Himachal Pradesh last year.
The party was in power here after the 2018 election – on the back of a post-poll alliance with the Janata Dal (Secular) – but that fell apart after rebel MLAs defected to the BJP.
Back then the Congress-JDS government had just 117 seats – four over the majority mark – leaving it vulnerable to an upset. This time it is likely to be a more stable force with likely over 125 lawmakers in its camp.
READ | ‘Unstoppable’ Cong, Rahul Gandhi celebrate as party wins K’taka
The win – coming after Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ – is seen as a step in the right direction as the opposition plots the BJP’s defeat in 2024.