BS Yediyurappa is set to retain power, with the BJP winning 12 of the 15 seats that went to bypolls last week. The saffron party needed a minimum six to stay afloat in the southern state. Congress won two seats, while an Independent won one. The JD(S) suffered the biggest setback with zero wins. Accepting responsibility for the drubbing, Congress leader Siddaramaiah resigned as the leader of opposition in the assembly, while Dinesh Gundurao quit as KPCC president. Neither resignations have been accepted yet. The Karnataka bypoll was held to fill the vacancies caused by the disqualification of 17 rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs, whose revolt led to the collapse of the HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition government in July and paved the way for BJP to come to power. Twelve of these 15 seats were held by the Congress and three by JD(S).
In a near sweep, a resurgent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 12 seats, while the Congress only 2 and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) faced a total rout in Karnataka’s by-elections for 15 seats held on December 5, an official said on Monday.
“Of all the results declared for 15 Assembly seats, the BJP won 12, Congress 2, while the JD-S drew a blank,” poll official G. Jadiyappa said.
An Independent, backed by the JD-S, won Hosakote in Bengaluru Rural district.
The BJP won Athani, Kagwad, Gokak, Yellapur, Hirekerur, Ranibennur, Vijayanagara, Chikkaballapur, K.R. Pura, Yeshvanthpur, Mahalakshmi Layout and Krishnarajapete.
The Congress won Hunasur in Mysuru district and Shivajinagar in Bengaluru central.
As the ruling BJP needed only 7 seats in the 223-member Assembly for a simple majority with 112 as the halfway mark, the 4-month-old BJP government will continue in office for over 3 years till the 5-year term of the present Assembly lapses in May 2023.
The BJP secured 50.3 per cent of the total votes polled, the Congress 31.3 per cent and the JD-S 12.1 per cent respectively in the 15 Assembly segments.
The BJP fielded 11 Congress and 3 JD-S defectors to wrest the seats from both the opposition parties.
The Congress won 2 of the 15 seats it contested while the JD-S lost in all the 12 seats it contested across the state.
Independent Sharat Kumar Bachegowda won the high-profile Hosakote seat against the BJP’s M.T.B. Nagaraj, who declared assets worth Rs 1,230 crore in his poll affidavit.
Nagaraj is a Congress defector, while Bachegowda is a BJP rebel whom the party expelled for not withdrawing from the crucial battle at the hustings as an Independent.
JD-S did not field its candidate in Hosakote but supported Bachegowda, who is the son of BJP’s Lok Sabha member from Chikkaballapur B.N. Bache Gowda.
Karnataka Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao on Monday tendered his resignation to the party chief Sonia Gandhi after the party suffered a massive defeat in the by-elections.
“Taking moral responsibility, I am resigning as the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president,” said Rao at the Congress office.
Rao said that the Congress thought people will not favour the defectors, yet the BJP won.
“Operation Kamala has been ratified by the people,” said Rao, describing the way BJP attracted and fielded the disqualified Congress lawmakers.
Rao said he will meet Congress president and submit a detailed report about the party’s rout in the bypolls.
Earlier, following a humiliating defeat in the by-elections, Siddaramaiah also resigned as the leader of opposition in state Assembly.
Siddaramaiah also resigned as the leader of opposition in state Assembly. He has submitted his resignation to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
He said the people’s verdict must be respected.
“I express my sincere regret for not being able to give satisfactory results in the bye-elections despite my sincere efforts,” Siddaramaiah wrote in his resignation letter and further said that it was his moral responsibility to step down as the Congress Legislature Party Leader.
The former state Chief Minister was appointed the leader of the opposition in the house in October this year despite stiff opposition from the old guard who considers him as an outsider within the party. The former CM had switched sides from the JDS.
At a time when the BJP is losing its footprint in states, the recent being in Maharashtra, it has got a major boost with the thumping victory in Karnataka by-elections. The Karnataka result would not only determine whether Yediyurappa stays in power. It would also nudge its cadre to renew activism ahead of the third phase of Jharkhand elections due on December 12.
Seventeen Assembly constituencies spread across eight districts of Jharkhand will vote for the 81-member Assembly.
By-election results by their very nature are very limited in appeal and even more limited in consequence. But the Karnataka case is different. In UP’s 2018 Gorakhpur Lok Sabha by-election, caused by Yogi Adityanath vacating the seat to become the Chief Minister, the BJP lost it to Samajwadi Party. This happened despite Yogi’s firm grip over the area. The Gorakhpur seat had been with the BJP since 1989.
The party had also lost Phulpur Lok Sabha by-election in UP. At that time, the BJP termed the twin defeat as a “small matter”, but it had far-reaching consequences. Three states were going to the polls in the next few months — Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. All three BJP-ruled states were won by the Congress.
The Karnataka by-elections, too, will have a ripple effect in the ongoing Jharkhand election, where surveys predict a hung Assembly, and in poll-bound Delhi. The Karnataka victory, thus, assumes significance, so much so that Congress leader D.K. Sivakumar had to reluctantly concede that Karnataka has chosen “defectors”.
Just before the results, the leads showed widening gaps between the BJP candidates and their nearest rivals. By 1 p.m, BJP’s Hirekerur candidate B.C. Patil started celebrating, as he was leading by more than 29,000 votes. Even seats like Krishnarajpet, where JD-S showed an early lead, slowly swung towards the BJP.
So confident was Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa that he was seen distributing sweets early in the day. As excitement mounted, he declared that the new MLAs — 11 out of a dozen — will be made ministers. He had a reason: seventeen Congress-JD(S) legislators had rebelled against the coalition government, which led to the Congress-JD-S government being toppled. Later, 14 Congress and three JD(S) rebels joined hands with the BJP which fielded 15 of them in the election.
The victory led Prime Minister Modi, who was on a campaign trail in Jharkhand, to say: “It is the triumph of democracy…The elections have ensured that Congress or JD-S can’t betray their mandate. This is a message for all (political parties) across the country.”
The BJP flag is now flying in the south of the Vindhya, which the BJP considers as its gateway to other southern states.
Senior BJP leaders say the party has already started its work in the south for 2024 general election. “The BJP is keen on experimenting in Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. In this backdrop, it’s important for the party to have a government in at least one southern state,” said a BJP leader.
The happiest man right now is Yeddyurappa, who would be travelling to Delhi this week to get an endorsement from party chief Amit Shah for inducting 11 out of 12 MLAs into his ministry.
Narendra Modi welcomed the bypoll results in Karnataka and said that those who formed the government through backdoor ignoring people’s mandate have been taught a lesson. The Prime Minister was speaking at a rally in Jharkhand’s Hazaribagh on Monday.
“The Karnataka bypoll results is the answer to the Congress which grabbed the power through the backdoor. It also answers to all states where the mandate of people has been ignored,” said Modi.
He further said, “People have responded through the democratic way. Today bypoll results have decided who would rule Karnataka. The BJP was given mandate but Congress hatched a conspiracy and grabbed the power from the backdoor. It is the old habit of Congress to play behind the curtain. People have now punished them. People have chosen a stable and strong government for development of Karnataka”.
“The people of Jharkhand should also learn from Karnataka. The situation like Karnataka should not crop up in Jharkhand after the polls. Congress has never believed in coalition politics. They have treated allies like puppets in lieu of support,” Modi further said.
“If there is a hung Assembly, Jharkhand will witness Karnataka like situation”, Modi warned.
He cautioned people that they would not get the benefit of the central government’s schemes if BJP is not voted back to power. (IANS)