BJP Appears Headed For A Splendid Show In Karnataka Bypolls
Bengaluru: The BJP in Karnataka took an unassailable lead in 12 of the 15 constituencies today that went to polls on December 5. The Congress is way behind in just 2 seats, down 9. The JD(S) seems to have lost major political turf, losing the three seats that it held and failing to open an account.
The poll outcome is a major boost for Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa’s leadership. He left no stone unturned during campaigning. It was a do or die battle for him.
With this win, the chief minister’s chair is safe, leaving even his detractors baffled and silenced.
Most candidates who are leading were earlier in the Congress or the JD(S) and they switched loyalties to the BJP leading to the downfall of the HD Kumaraswamy led JD(S)-Congress alliance. The leads indicated that the candidates are retaining their seats.
The shadows of the Maha Vikas Agadi in Maharashtra against defectors have not affected Karnataka.
The BJP government needed only 5 seats to sail through, but with 12 likely to land in its kitty, the saffron party has nothing to worry about. It need not seek the support of any other party.
Twelve of the 15 seats were held by the Congress and three by JD(S). The outcome of the bypoll, which recorded 67.91 percent polling.
But the BJP looks like suffering a major setback in Hoskote where the richest candidate MTB Nagaraj is on losing ground. He was done in by BJP’s stalwart and party MP Bachegowda who fielded his son Sharat as an independent to ‘save the prestige’ of the BJP by accepting a turncoat.
But the BJP managed to win all the urban Bengaluru seats – Yeshwantapura, KR Pura, Krishnarajapeta and Mahalakshmi Layout. In minority-dominated Shivajinagar, Congress has taken a handsome lead. In Hunsur too, the Congress is leading.
The BJP is leading in Athani, Kagwad, Ranibennur, Vijayanagara, Yellapur, Chickballapur, Gokak and Hirekurur.
Conceding defeat, the Congress said voters had “accepted defectors”. “We have to agree with the mandate of the voters of these 15 constituencies. People have accepted the defectors. We have accepted defeat. I don’t think we have to be disheartened,” Karnataka Congress leader DK Shivakumar said.
The BJP fielded 13 of the MLAs who quit, with the Chief Minister describing them as “future ministers”. But Yediyurappa’s biggest challenge ahead will be to keep his flock together and also fulfill pre-poll promise to accommodate all turncoat MLAs who won their seats after quitting the Congress-JDS as ministers. Many loyalists, leaders and party workers are unhappy in giving cabinet berths to lateral entrants.
The BJP had to win at least seven seats for a majority in the assembly, which will have 222 members after the bypolls. Two seats are still vacant. The BJP currently has 105 MLAs and the support of one independent candidate, while the Congress has 66 and the JDS 34.