We have Ali, Bajrang Bali: Congress workers elate with Karnataka win

As BJP’s attempt to invoke Bajrang Bali, in his place of birth, failed to bear desired result, Congress leader Imran Pratapgarhi and party workers say they have blessing of both Ali and Bajrang Bali

| Updated: 13 May, 2023 8:49 pm IST

NEW DELHI: Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) attempt to turn around the Congress manifesto failed to intensify sentiments in Karnataka as Grand Old Party’s (GOP) workers and Members of Parliament insisted that both Ali and Bajrang Bali had voted for the party.

While Congress fell short of its tally of 178 in the 1989 state assembly election, it has logged an impressive tally of 137 seats, with one independent MLA also declaring its support for the party.

The win is impressive for the battered party, which struggled to stay relevant in national politics. The win will surely boost its confidence ahead of the 2024 general elections.

And the mood was quite evident at party headquarters in New Delhi as Congress workers and leaders celebrated the party’s thumping win.

“We got the blessings from Bajrang Bali and Ali,” one of the party workers told The New Indian. “They dared to equate Bajrang Bali with the hooligans of Bajrang Dal and they paid the price,” he added.

Reacting to Congress’ thumping win, one of the party’s emerging Muslim faces and Rajya Sabha MP Imran Pratapgarhi said, “Karnataka has rejected the politics of Bajrang Bali.”

“The party had worked hard and it is the result of the hard work that we won by a huge margin,” Pratapgarhi said, adding, “We did healthy politics.”

The statements hold significance as they signalled the BJP’s failed attempt to cash in on the controversy that erupted following its promise to ban Bajrang Dal if voted to power.

While Congress did backtrack on its electoral promise, following the uproar over its promise in the manifesto, it was evident that communal polarisation helped Congress consolidate Muslims in its favour. The BJP’s counter-polarisation, however, did not consolidate the Hindu vote, which was fractured due to caste politics.

Incidentally, it was Uttar Pradesh Chief minister Yogi Adityanath who first mentioned Ali and Bajrang Bali back in 2018. “Keep your Ali, Bajrang Bali is with us,” CM Yogi Adityanath said at an election rally in Bhopal.

CM Yogi Adityanath was reacting to senior Congress leader Kamal Nath asking Muslim leaders to ensure as many as 90 per cent votes from the minority community for Congress.

That is not the only time CM Yogi Adityanath invoked Bajrang Bali. Five months later, in April 2019, reacting to Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati’s remark cautioning Muslims against the split of the vote, he said, “If Congress, SP and BSP have faith in Ali, we have faith in Bajrang Bali.”

Meanwhile, in New Delhi, Congress workers said, “This is a clear-cut message from the people of Karnataka. Rahul Gandhi’s politics of love triumphed over the atmosphere of hatred. It is Rahul Gandhi’s love that helped Congress gain such a huge majority.”

“Bajrang Bali is upset (with the BJP). He picked up his mace and hit them back,” RS Rathore said. “The middle class, which is reeling under inflation, showed its wrath. Karnataka has shown and now India will too show doors to the BJP,” he added.

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