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This is an opinion piece written by an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader who contends that the Congress manifesto for the Karnataka election was inspired by, or even copied from, the AAP’s strategy in Delhi and Punjab.
The recently concluded elections in Karnataka have been celebrated by Congress supporters as an endorsement of Rahul Gandhi and his “Bharat Jodo Yatra”, going on to make extrapolations for 2024. However, it is important for parties opposed to the BJP to draw the correct lessons from this election cycle, because drawing the wrong lessons ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha election will deliver a drastically different result for the opposition.
The Karnataka election results have four big lessons:
> Bharat Jodo Yatra may have had no impact on the electoral outcome.
> Anti-incumbency against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was extremely high and people were yearning for change.
>The top issues the electorate was hinging its vote on was economic distress and inflation.
> A welfare model of addressing economic anxieties through broad-based, but direct benefit programs that blunt the sharp edges of inflation has proved to be a winning formula, previously for Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi and Punjab and now for the Congress in Karnataka.
The Illusion of Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra
Claims of Congress supporters that Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra had any impact on the election outcome have no basis in data or evidence. Even this Hindustan Times article that established a marginal vote share increase was merely a correlation with no evidence to suggest that the Yatra had anything to do with that vote share increase - as the authors themselves admit.
In fact, data from the C-Voter tracker conducted in the aftermath of the Yatra shows how little of an impact it had on the favorability rating of Rahul Gandhi. The CSDS-Lokniti exit poll shows us that only 37 percent of Congress voters had made up their minds to vote for the party before campaigning began.