If the issue of corruption is cited as the reason behind the reverses faced by some parties in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, the parliamentary election results in Karnataka turn the theory on its head. Here the biggest winners are politicians with a tainted past. The former Karnataka chief minister, B.S. Yeddyurappa, has won with a record margin and his party members such as Shobha Karandlaje and B. Sriramulu have registered commendable wins. Messrs Yeddyurappa and Sriramulu had formed their own parties after being hounded out of the Bharatiya Janata Party on charges of corruption, but had returned to the saffron fold months before the parliamentary elections. Their return was contested but their open support for Narendra Modiís leadership appears to have quelled the dissension. As a BJP strategy to prevent a split in the saffron vote, which gave the Congress the assembly election victory of 2013, the return of the fall guys could not have served the party any better. From a vote share of around 20 per cent in the assembly polls, the BJPís numbers in Karnataka have gone up to 43 per cent, taking the party close to the heights it had reached in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. The party has garnered 17 of the 28 parliamentary seats, two less than its 2009 tally. The towering presence of party veterans such as Mr Yeddyurappa, who brought in the Lingayat votes, H.N. Ananth Kumar and D.V. Sadananda Gowda have helped the party sweep north and coastal Karnataka.
Unlike in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, where the Congress faced the worst reverses, the partyís results in Karnataka are less dismal. But for an incumbent state government that earned a fabulous victory in the assembly polls last year, the Congressís tally of nine seats, a trifle more than its 2009 figure, could not have been a source of consolation. A similar fate befell the Janata Dal (Secular), which found its leader, H.D. Kumaraswamy, the man who till recently led the anti-corruption mission, bite the dust. Despite its welfare measures and grants, such as the special status given to the Hyderabad-Karnataka region, the Congress found it difficult to stand up to the tremendous pull of the Modi factor. The division in the minority votes between the Congress and the JD(S) also ill-served the two parties. The unalloyed victory of the BJP reinstates it to a position of great advantage in the only southern state it has ruled.