By winning the two seats in the bypolls in the State, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has emerged as the Captain Amarinder Singh of Karnataka.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has managed to retain both the bypoll seats in the State and has emerged as the Captain Amarinder Singh of the southern state. He did not seek the help of the High Command and single-handedly won the elections for the party. Just like Amarinder Singh in Punjab. With this win, Siddaramaiah has emerged as a stronger leader ahead of the Assembly elections slated for 2018.
Siddaramaiah has also emerged as a local warlord ready to take future poll battles all by himself and would be able to dictate terms to a weak highcommand headed by Rahul Gandhi. He also has the powers now to show who the real boss of Karnataka is. He can also boldly dismiss the likes of leaders like Digvijaya Singh whom the party had deputed for Karnataka.
The ruling Congress retained its hold over Karnataka, winning Nanjangud and Gundlupet Assembly seats. Congress party’s Kalale N Keshavamurthy defeated his nearest rival V Srinivas Prasad (BJP) by over 21,000 votes in Nanjangud.
In Gundlupet, M C Mohana Kumari (Geetha Mahadeva Prasad) of Congress trounced BJP’s C S Niranjan Kumar by over 10,000 votes. Both the seats were held by Congress.
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Both these seats were considered prestigious with the BJP using all its force to dislodge the Congress. The BJP had banked heavily on the recent sweeping win in Uttar Pradesh and had hoped that the wave from the cow belt would unseat the Congress.
The defeat in Nanjangud was more painful for the BJP. The party had fielded V Srinivasa Prasad who had cut off his ties with Siddaramaiah and was considered a heavyweight. In fact the bypoll in Nanjangud was necessitated due to the resignation of Srinivas Prasad as the Congress MLA. He later quit Congress and joined BJP to contest the bypoll.
“It has hurt us that a senior leader like V Srinivas Prasad should face defeat in Nanjangud constituency. But our aim to secure 150 seats in the next assembly elections remains firm”, said Yeddyurappa.
In Gundlupet, bypoll was necessitated due to the death of H S Mahadeva Prasad. Congress candidate MC Mohana Kumari is the wife of late Mahadeva Prasad. The sympathy factor worked well for the Congress and Mohana Kumari had worked alongside her husband in the past in nursing the constituency. She was a well-known and popular face.
Of course the two wins are no indication of the mood across the state. In a slight modification to the old adage, two swallow do not a summer make.
The message from Karnataka is thus two fold: Emergence of a stronger and more powerful Siddarmaiah in the Congress ranks and, secondly, the BJP cannot take things for granted in Karnataka.
The BJP has come out with some lame excuses. Senior party leader and former deputy chief minister R Ashoka alleged that the state government misused official machinery to win the bypolls. “We take the defeat as a challenge to emerge victorious in the assembly polls next year”, he said.
KPCC President G Parameshwara said that it is a mandate for the achievements of the state government during the last two years.
The bypolls were considered as prestige battle for the two national parties. The results are seen as a pointer to the crucial assembly elections to be held next year.