Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today said the results of the Gujarat Assembly polls would not have any impact on the Assembly election in the state, which is due early next year. “The election results of one state will not have an effect on the election of another state. The issues will be different. Whatever may the Gujarat poll results be, it will have no impact on Karnataka,” he told reporters at Yadgir in the northern parts of the state. The Congress leader also claimed that by ensuring the party’s victory in the Assembly polls, Karnataka would give the “first gift” to newly-appointed Congress president Rahul Gandhi for his leadership. Claiming that there was no anti-incumbency against his government, Siddaramaiah said if it was there, the Congress would have got to know about it in the Nanjangud and Gundlupet bypolls, which the party won by big margins. “I am sure that in 2018, we will come back to power hundred per cent,” he added. The Congress has already announced that Siddaramaiah will be its face in the Karnataka Assembly polls. Expressing doubts about the BJP’s performance in Gujarat, despite anti-incumbency and a strong undercurrent against it, the chief minister said the poll results lent credence to the doubts regarding the electronic voting machines (EVMs).
Raising apprehensions that the EVMs could be tampered with, Siddaramaiah had recently demanded the use of ballot papers in the next Assembly polls in the state. Suggesting that in Himachal Pradesh, the BJP was expected to win because of the anti-incumbency factor against the Congress, he pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah were from Gujarat and claimed that the duo had taken the Gujarat election as a “prestige issue”. He also acknowledged that the strategy of Modi and Shah of using the “Gujarati pride” card had effectively worked in the saffron party’s favour. Though there was an undercurrent and a strong anti- incumbency factor against the Gujarat government, Modi had asked for votes pointing out that he was from the state, Siddaramaiah said, adding, “Most probably, this worked.”
Noting that the trends of the results showed an improved performance of the Congress, the chief minister gave the credit for that to Rahul Gandhi. “I feel, in Gujarat, we have won despite losing. The people have shown their support to Rahul Gandhi’s leadership,” he said. Pointing at Modi and Shah’s Gujarati origin and the fact that the BJP was in power both in Gujarat and at the Centre as factors behind the saffron party’s performance, the Congress leader accused it of polarising the voters by systematically playing the communal card. “They (BJP) are playing it in Karnataka also by triggering communal tensions with an intention to polarise the voters. But it will not happen here,” he said. The BJP is headed for a record sixth straight victory in the Gujarat Assembly polls today. The party is also set to evict the Congress from Himachal Pradesh.