27 February, 2021

Saffron Knights

It was a state with a strong anti-north politics. But Karnataka now opens the doors to the south for the BJP—giving a fillip to its 2019 prospects.

Photograph by AP
Saffron Knights

Crossing the Vindhyas. It’s an age-old metaphor, one that has defined India’s power matrix for centuries, and a vital one for the BJP to clinch. Karnataka, after all, was the last major election in the south before the curtains go up for the big one in 2019. Next summer’s general elections—if they do not get preponed—have all the signs of an epoch-making one, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi needed to show he could lead his chariot beyond ‘Arya­varta’. The BJP will need to offset potential losses in the north with a compensatory harvest in new territories—that’s the general consensus. No wonder he was exultant about the red loam soils of this Deccan state getting that glint of saffron.

The dizzying rollercoaster that began with unusually heavy footfalls at the polling booths on Saturday—and carried on well after a T20-like cliffhanger on Tuesday—seemed nowhere close to ending as we go to press. Triumphal tweets were being sent and deleted, MLAs being carted back and forth between Eagleton Golf Resort and...

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