New Delhi: Karnataka elections yet again proved that Prime Minister Narendra Modi remained the main vote-catcher for the BJP, which emerged as the single largest party but eight seats short of a simple majority.

Describing the Karnat-aka verdict as “extraordinary and unprecedented”, Mr Modi asserted that the BJP will not allow the state’s development journey to be trampled upon. The BJP has staked a claim to form government in Karnataka.

Mr Modi thanked the BJP cadre for their hard work and the people of the state for rejecting the regionalism, caste and language cards played by the Congress and asserted that his party believes and works towards creating an “Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat”.

BJP president Amit Shah also thanked the party cadre and the people of the state for making an effort towards a “Congress mukt” state wholeheartedly and asserted that his party’s “vijay rath (winning streak)” will continue and the party will win all polls from now on including 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

“They say the BJP is a party of Hindi speaking states. Are Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra states in Northeast Hindi speaking states? No, BJP represents India. There was no barrier between people of Karnataka and me. I will always cherish the affection I received from them,” said Mr Modi while addressing the party cadre and supporters who had gathered at the BJP headquarters to celebrate the party’s poll performance in the southern state.

Mr Modi, who addressed 21 rallies in the state, said the people of Karnataka gave a jolt to those political parties who propagated lies and had “vikrit ma-nsikta (destructive mentality)” for political benefit.

The Prime Minister said though he was happy about the Karnataka’s victory but he was also saddened by the loss of lives in Varanasi where an underconstruction bridge collapsed, killing more than a dozen people and injuring many.

Mr Modi, though without naming the Congress, targeted it, saying that a party which ruled the country for decades, has damaged the Constitution and the country’s federal structure by pitting north India against south India and spreading tensions between the Centre and states. He said elections happen but the attempts to harm institutions is a matter of concern.

Mr Modi also hailed BJP president Amit Shah’s hard work and his poll strategy.

“If one wants to know how an ideal karyakarta works, one does not need to look anywhere else, look at our national president,” said the BJP national president.

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