KARNATAKA BYPOLLS … Virtual wipe-out for the Congress; BJP wins 12 of 15 seats up for bypolls

BENGALURU: The Congress edifice in Karnataka came crumbling like a pack of cards on Monday, after the results of the assembly bypolls to 15 seats saw a virtual wipe-out of the grand old party and the BJP emerging victorious in most of the seats. The BJP won as many as 12 of these seats, while the Congress got two and an Independent supported by the JDS won another seat.

Former chief minister Siddaramaiah, the Congress legislature party (CLP) leader who led the campaign for the Congress, and the state PCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao promptly put in their resignations. “I thought the people would punish the defectors from the Congress, but this did not happen,” said Siddaramaiah, who sent his resignation to Sonia Gandhi. “I own moral responsibility for the party’s poor show,” said Dinesh Gundu Rao in his resignation letter to the party high command.

Luckily for the BJP chief minister BS Yediyurappa, he and his party got more than what they badly required. Most of those who were put up as candidates by the BJP were defectors from the Congress and the JDS – the two parties which formed the government after the May 2018 assembly polls in the state which threw up a fractured verdict. The JDS and the Congress had entered into a post-poll alliance and formed the ministry, while the single largest party, the BJP was made to languish in the sidelines. 

However, the BJP apparently encouraged defections from the Congress and the JDS – mainly those who aspired for ministerial berths and did not get them – and this resulted in the fall of the HD Kumaraswamy-led JDS-Congress government and formation of a BJP government headed by BS Yediyurappa in July 2019.

As the speaker of the assembly disqualified the MLAs who defected from the Congress and the JDS to the BJP side, bypolls were necessitated. The BJP fielded the defectors in the respective constituencies under its banner, and much to everyone’s surprise, the defectors won the December 5 polls and added to the strength of the BJP. Yediyurappa required only six wins in this round of bypolls, but he – and the BJP – got much more, virtually decimating the Congress and the JDS in this polls.

Last heard, the BJP won 12 of the 15 seats, while the Congress was satisfied with two seats. An independent supported by the JDS also won. IHN-NN


BENGALURU: Early trends in Karnataka assembly bypolls in favour of the ruling BJP. Of the 15 seats up for polls, the BJP was leading in 10 and the Congress party in three seats and JDS in one seat. The polls were held on December 5.

The BS Yeddyurappa-led government requires a minimum of six seats to ensure its majority support in the assembly. Of the 15, as many as 13 seats fell vacant due to the defection of a set of Congress and JDS legislators to the BJP side in the assembly, following which the Speaker disqualified them. BJP fielded these disqualified MLAs as its candidate, and this seems to have helped the ruling party.

Notably, the votes are seen to be in favour of the BJP even in the Congress strongholds of northern Karnataka. –IHN-NN

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