Listening to BS Yeddyurappa, it seemed as if the Bharatiya Janata Party's election campaign for 2019 has begun – from inside Karnataka's Vidhana Soudha. Yeddyurappa's teary farewell speech as chief minister was intended to do an Atal Bihari Vajpayee, to reap electoral dividends a year later.Except that it is anyone's guess how long the 75-year-old Yeddyurappa, who was given grace time beyond the unofficial retirement age in the BJP, will be allowed to stay on as Karnataka BJP chief, before being nudged into the Margdarshak mandal.Sitting a few steps away, on the Opposition benches, Siddaramaiah smirked, even as BSY tore into what he called was an “opportunistic alliance” struck between the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular).That is possibly because the two parties that have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat see in the half-a-dozen audio conversations between senior BJP leaders and Congress MLAs, the gunpowder to fire at the “na khaoonga, na khaane doonga'' slogan of Narendra Modi.Did Yeddyurappa in Karnataka Pull a Vajpayee from 1996 LS Polls?Because, if forensic experts find the audio chats genuine, they show the BJP as a party that is willing to bribe its way to power. The likes of Yeddyurappa, his son BY Vijayendra, B Sriramulu, Muralidhar Rao and Gali Janardhana Reddy allegedly figure in the tapes, offering inducements in the form of money and ministries to the Congress legislators, asking them to cross over.Too busy to read? Listen to it instead.The manner in which Vajubhai Vala, the governor of Karnataka, went out of his way to give 15 days time to Yeddyurappa to prove his majority, was an indication of how Raj Bhavans under the NDA regime are as misused as they were under the Congress rule. The BJP's ‘party with a difference’ slogan has come across sounding empty.So what do the high-octane political developments in Karnataka, that have come just days before the Modi sarkaar completes four years in office, mean for 2019?A ‘BJP-Mukt’ South IndiaThe immediate embarrassment is that south India stays BJP-mukt. That won't please Modi and Amit Shah one bit, given the branding of the BJP as a Hindi, Hindutva, Hindustan party, that does not quite understand and relate to the cultural ethos of south India. Not entirely fair considering the BJP did emerge as the single largest party in Karnataka. But the optics of not being in power will hurt.The Congress plans to rub it in by making HD Kumaraswamy's swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday, 23 May, a grand affair, with several leaders from the non-BJP firmament in attendance.Many of them will be from south India, and these regional satraps and chief ministers like Pinarayi Vijayan, MK Stalin and may be even Chandrababu Naidu and K Chandrasekhar Rao, will be keen to send across the message that the BJP has not been able to breach the land beyond the Vindhyas.The presence of Tejeswi Yadav, Mamata Banerjee, Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav and Sitaram Yechury in Bengaluru will mean the combined Opposition will look to convert the Gateway to South India to the Gateway to New Delhi.2019 Is an Open Game: 5 Key Takeaways From Karnataka ElectionsDK Shivakumar – The Man of the HourAt a national level, the Karnataka election will make the BJP realise that it has given the Opposition the formula for possible success. Had the Congress and the JD(S) fought this election as part of a pre-poll alliance, they stood a very good chance to defeat the BJP. The BSP-SP jugalbandi in Uttar Pradesh and the Congress-JD(S) combo pack in Karnataka are poised to emerge as the template for a one-on-one constituency-by-constituency fight against the BJP in 2019.Till recently, the BJP induced fear in the Opposition, with its take no prisoners approach to politics. The party leadership met its match in DK Shivakumar in Karnataka. Not that the former energy minister was an unknown commodity to the BJP. After all, just last year he had ensured Ahmed Patel's election to the Rajya Sabha by shepherding the Gujarat MLAs to a resort near Bengaluru, sinking Amit Shah's plans to ensure the Congress leader is defeated.This time, Shivakumar ensured the Congress and JD(S) legislators were kept away from poachers, driving them away to Hyderabad.The fact that the Opposition did not lose a single MLA to the BJP inducements is not only a tribute to Shivakumar’s ability to think two steps ahead but also a pointer to the fact that BJP’s tactics are losing their bite.It is here that the BJP needs to change its narrative. It has lost important allies in recent months. The Telugu Desam Party has deserted the NDA and the Shiv Sena does not want an alliance with the BJP. Modi's overtures to Deve Gowda during the campaign did not yield dividends, given the clumsy arithmetic of the new Vidhan Sabha. The BJP does not score high on the popularity charts of Andhra Pradesh or Tamil Nadu either.Karnataka is also proof that 2019 will see regional parties leading the fight against the BJP, with the Congress cast only in a supporting role in many states. The question is whether Shah will convert it into a presidential form of election, making it a Modi vs no one contest.One thing is clear, Match 2019 has begun in 2018.(The writer is a senior journalist. He can be reached at @Iamtssudhir. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same)(The Quint is now on WhatsApp. To receive handpicked stories on topics you care about, subscribe to our WhatsApp services. Just go to TheQuint.com/WhatsApp and hit send) We'll get through this! Meanwhile, here's all you need to know about the Coronavirus outbreak to keep yourself safe, informed, and updated. 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