Indian National Congress Comes to Power in Karnataka.
India’s ruling Congress party, which has been battered by corruption scandals, won a much-needed victory Wednesday in an election in a key southern state.
The party wrested power from the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party in Karnataka. The voting was watched as a possible bellwether for next year’s national elections.
The election commission said the Congress party had achieved a majority with 118 seats and was leading in three other of the state’s 224 constituencies as of Wednesday evening. The BJP had won or was leading in only 40 constituencies, with the rest going to other parties.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hailed his party’s victory but acknowledged that corruption was an important issue. “We must sit together and find a solution,” the Press Trust of India news agency quoted him as saying.
Salman Khurshid, a top Congress leader and India’s external affairs minister, said the outcome “has given us a great shot in the arm.”
Karnataka’s capital, Bangalore, is the country’s information technology hub.
Chandan Mitra, a BJP lawmaker, said Karnataka voters had punished his party for its poor governance in the state. However, he warned Congress that it would badly lose next year’s national elections because “it is sitting on a corruption keg.”