CN Ashwathnarayan said the BJP failed to communicate its schemes.
Outgoing Karnataka minister CN Ashwathnarayan, who retained his seat in the Malleshwaram constituency as election results were declared on Saturday, has blamed poor communication for the defeat and challenged the Congress to ban the Bajrang Dal.
"It's a shocker to us. We lost so many seats. This was never expected," Dr Ashwathnarayan told NDTV. "Communication was our problem. We could not communicate enough of our schemes to our people."
He also dared the Congress to try and ban the Bajrang Dal, the youth wing of the Sangh-affiliated Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
"How dare they talk about banning Bajrang Dal. Let them try. We will show what we can do," he said.
The BJP was handed a stunning defeat in the only southern state it has ever ruled by the Congress in the Karnataka assembly election on Saturday, with the state maintaining its tradition of voting out incumbent governments every election.
The Congress manifesto for Karnataka had stated that it will "take strong action against organisations like Bajrang Dal that promote enmity and hatred among different communities". It also promised to protect minorities from "communal violence" and "false cases".
It had named the Popular Front of India (PFI), a Muslim group banned for alleged links to terrorism, along with the Bajrang Dal, which is often linked with vigilantism, violence and moral policing.
In the face of a backlash from members of the ruling BJP, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Congress clarified the promise, saying it had "no proposal to ban the Bajrang Dal" because banning an organisation like it came under the central government.
But the party also hit back at the Prime Minister, accusing him of "hurting religious sentiments" of devotees by equating Lord Hanuman with the Bajrang Dal, and demanded an apology from him.