JD(S) Leader H D Kumaraswamy with Congress leader D K Shivakumar (PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak)
The ruling JD (S)-Congress coalition on Tuesday pulled off an emphatic victory over Opposition BJP by winning four of the five Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies that went to bypolls in Karnataka. The biggest upset, however, was pulled off by the coalition candidate in Ballari Lok Sabha seat — considered to be a stronghold of the controversial Reddy brothers — by winning with a margin of 2,43,161 votes. Ramanagaram and Jamkhandi Assembly constituencies and Madhya Lok Sabha seat also went to the coalition.
The BJP won only in Shivamogga parliamentary seat, the pocket borough of the Leader of the Opposition B S Yeddyurappa. His son B Y Raghavendra established a lead of more than 51,000 votes over Madhu Bangarappa of the JD(S). Madhu is the son of former Congress chief minister the late S Bangarappa. Karnataka is the only south Indian state where the BJP has been in power.
In Ramanagaram, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy’s wife Anitha bagged the assembly seat by a spectacular margin of 1,09,137 against her nearest rival BJP’s L Chandrashekar, who had pulled out of the contest, but still officially remains the party candidate. Ramanagara seat fell vacant after Kumaraswamy preferred to retain Chennapatna, the other constituency from where he had won.
In Jamkhandi, Congress candidate Anand Nyamgouda defeated BJP’s Srikant Kulkarni by a margin of 39,480 votes, riding a sympathy wave following his father and sitting MLA Siddu Nyamagouda’s death in a road accident.
Congress’ VS Ugruppa and JD(S)’s LR Shivaramegowda won Ballari and Mandya Lok Sabha seats with a margin of 2,43,161 and 3,24,943 votes, respectively.
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 the results reflected the disenchantment of people with the BJP.
“Look at the margins…it’s clear that people are fed up with the BJP. This anti-people, anti-farmer, anti-women government at the Centre must go.
“All forces need to come together to take on the BJP. BJP will be wiped out of Karnataka in 2019 (Lok Sabha polls). If it is wiped out in Karnataka, it will be wiped out in the entire south India,” he said.
The counting of votes for three Lok Sabha and three Assembly seats in Karnataka, which went to the bypolls on Saturday, began this morning. An estimated 67 per cent voter turnout was recorded in the bypolls.
Elaborate security arrangements were put in place and police are deployed around the counting centres and strongrooms since morning, where the EVMs are placed, to ensure that no untoward incident takes place during the counting of votes, police officials said.