Karnataka bypolls: Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa triumphs, pushes Congress to fringe

Of the 15 Assembly constituencies that faced bypolls, the Congress had held 11 seats, while the JD(S) three. In the bypolls, however, the Congress could win back just two seats, while the JD(S) none from the earlier three seats it held. The BJP m...

ANI
Unlike the Congress, where leaders did not put up a united show, Yediyurappa led the campaign from the front, and toured the State like a man possessed, as if it was a do-or-die battle for his regime.
BENGALURU: Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has turned in an impressive victory for the BJP by winning 12 of the 15 Assembly seats the party contested in the Dec 5 byelection. With his popularity among the electorate receiving overwhelming endorsement, he is unlikely to face any hurdle to completing the government’s term in Karnataka for the next three and a half years.

The Congress has received a massive drubbing. Of the 15 Assembly constituencies that faced bypolls, the Congress had held 11 seats, while the JD(S) three. In the bypolls, however, the Congress could win back just two seats, while the JD(S) none from the earlier three seats it held. The BJP march was too overwhelming for the Congress and JD(S) to arrest in most seats.

The JD(S) will have to read the writing on the wall carefully to prevent further erosion of its base in the Mandya belt, and work hard to recoup the losses.


Unlike the Congress, where leaders did not put up a united show, Yediyurappa led the campaign from the front, and toured the State like a man possessed, as if it was a do-or-die battle for his regime. He drafted his son, BY Vijayendra and Deputy CM Dr.CN Ashwathnarayan to win KR Pete seat in Mandya district for the BJP. The CM was born in this constituency, though he later shifted to Shivamogga and made the latter his home. His emotional card seemed to have worked with KR Pete voters than former CM HD Kumaraswamy tearful appeal for votes.

The Congress position has just got weaker. The infighting among the leaders became evident from the beginning with several leaders leaving the campaigning task to former CM Siddaramaiah. Sections of the Congress leaders thought Siddaramaiah will walk away with the credit if the party were to turn in an impressive show, and hence, did not involve themselves fully.

“Voters have given us a decisive mandate to rule the state for the next three and a half years,” said Revenue Minister R Ashoka. He added that the mandate from the people’s court had shown the then Speaker’s order disqualifying the MLAs and barring them from contesting polls was illegal. He also demanded the resignation of Siddaramaiah as leader of the Opposition.
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Political analysts said people probably voted for the BJP to hand the party a decisive majority in the Assembly so that the state does not come under another coalition rule. While the disqualified MLAs were found unfit to contest polls by previous Assembly speaker KR Ramesh Kumar, voters sent 11 of them back to the House, overturning the Speaker’s order through ballots.

The bickering in the JD(S)-Congress regime began with former Congress minister Ramesh Jharkiholi demanding certain concessions from his party, and keep Congress leader DK Shivakumar away from the Belagavi district. The dissent only grew in the months to come leading eventually to 17 MLAs -- 13 from Congress, 3 from JD(S) and one independent - walking out, causing the collapse of the coalition regime. The development also led to the disqualification of 17 lawmakers, of whom 11 have won now.

In Hosakote on the outskirts of Bengaluru, the BJP candidate faced defeat from its own rebel, Sharath Bache Gowda, son of BJP Lok Sabha member BN Bache Gowda.
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