With Voters, categorical support for Karnataka’s ruling JD(S)-Congress alliance, the coalition candidates today won both the assembly seats and two of the three Lok Sabha seats in fiercely fought by-polls held on Saturday.
The by-elections result came as a major setback for the main opposition BJP ahead of the 2019 elections. BJP also lost the Ballari Lok Sabha seat, considered a stronghold of the controversial mining barons the Reddy brothers. Mine-rich Ballari had remained a BJP stronghold since 2004.
Congress candidate V S Ugrappa won the Ballari seat by defeating BJP’s J Shantha by fairly a huge margin of more than 2.43 lakh votes. J Shantha is the sister of B Sriramulu, a key aide of Reddy Brothers and former MP from there.
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In Shivamogga, B Y Raghavendra, son of former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, crushed his rival Madhu Bangarappa by 52,148 votes in a closely-fought contest. Madhu is the son of former Congress chief minister, the late S Bangarappa.
Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s wife Anitha bagged the Ramanagara assembly seat by a big margin of 1,09,137 against her nearest rival BJP’s L Chandrashekar. Chandrashekhar, who had joined the BJP ahead of the polls returned to the Congress weeks later, leaving the saffron party red-faced and the field open for a walkover for Anitha Kumaraswamy.
In Jamkhandi assembly segment, Congress candidate Anand Nyamgouda defeated BJP’s Srikant Kulkarni by a margin of 39,480 votes, riding a sympathy wave following the death of his father Siddu Nyamagouda in a road accident.
JD(S) candidate L R Shivarame Gowda registered a big victory in Mandya defeating BJP’s Siddaramaiah, a former civil servant by a margin of 3,24,943 votes. Mandy is a stronghold of the Vokkaliga community to which JD(S) supremo and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda belongs.
With Tuesday’s victory, the Congress-JD(S) alliance’s tally will go up to 120 seats in the 224 member assembly, where the BJP has 104 MLAs.
Elated over the performance of the ruling alliance candidates, jubilant Congress workers distributed sweets and broke coconuts at various places.
Karnataka Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao claimed that the results reflected the disenchantment of people with the BJP. Karnataka is the only south Indian state where the BJP has been in power.