The victory in Karnataka could not have come at a better time for the Congress that is facing heat from the Opposition over a series of corruption scandals leading to a near wash-out of the budget session of Parliament.
Since Karnataka is a big state and the only in south India where the BJP was in power, the win will give a much-needed morale booster for the Congress ahead of the next Lok Sabha elections, scheduled for 2014.
Congress leaders are terming the victory as “huge” as the party has come back to power in Karnataka on its own after 14 years. It had formed a coalition government in alliance with the Janata Dal (Secular) in 2004 but that lasted just two years only.
“Fed up with BJP’s misrule, the people of Karnataka were keen to see us back at the helm,” a senior leader said.
However, it remains to be seen if the Congress could repeat this performance in the 2014 elections in the state that has 28 Lok Sabha seats.
The win would certainly induce more aggression in the Congress as it prepares for the next big test of crucial assembly polls in four states of Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, which are being touted as the semi-finals before the general elections.
In Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, the Congress has been out of power since 2003 and the primary task cut out for the leadership is to prevent the repeat of Gujarat in these BJP-ruled two states. Retaining Delhi and Rajasthan would be a big task.
Congress managers are confident of putting up a good show in these states but admit that the corruption scams at the national level will hurt the party prospects to some extent.
“But then issues vary from state to state. What is relevant in one state cannot be same in the other. And more importantly, people clearly differentiate between assembly and Lok Sabha elections,” another party functionary said.