Karnataka’s ruling coalition of Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress won four out of five seats in the Assembly and parliamentary bye-elections that were held on Saturday. The Bharatiya Janata Party won the fifth seat.
The Congress won Jamkhandi Assembly seat and Ballari Lok Sabha seat, while the Janata Dal (Secular) won the Ramanagara Assembly seat and Mandya parliamentary seat.
BY Raghavendra is the sole BJP candidate to win a seat in the bye-election. Raghavendra, who is the son of former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, contested from Shivamogga Lok Sabha seat and won with a margin of 52,148 votes. Raghavendra had contested against Janata Dal (Secular) candidate Madhu Bangarappa, who is the son of former Chief Minister S Bangarappa.
Janata Dal (Secular) candidate Anitha Kumaraswamy won the Ramanagara Assembly seat with a margin of 1,09,137 votes and LR Shivaramegowda won the Mandya parliamentary seat with a margin of 3,24,943 votes.
Around 67% of the electorate had voted in the bye-elections.
Mandya is viewed as a Congress stronghold, while Ballari from the mining belt is a bastion of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The BJP had won the most seats in the Assembly elections in the state in May, but could not forge an alliance to form the government.
Earlier on Tuesday, Yeddyurappa had expressed confidence that the BJP will win Ballari, Shivamogga and Jamkhandi, The New Indian Express reported. In Vokkaliga bastion Mandya, Yeddyurappa said his party would fight hard, though analysts say the BJP is unlikely to win.
Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy said the JD(S) will work with the Congress to win all 28 Lok Sabha seats next year, reported ANI. “This elections was the first step,” he said. “This is not an empty boast just because we have won today. This is the confidence of people in us. This win is not making us arrogant.”
State Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao claimed it was a “resounding win” for the Congress-JD(S) coalition. “4-1 thrashing to BJP,” he tweeted. “People have rejected the negative politics of BJP in Karnataka and the abject failure of Modi govt in addressing people’s issues.”
Rao said the people have rejected the BJP and the government led by Narendra Modi. “Bypoll results will send a message to the entire country that the time for change has come,” he said.
He had also claimed the coalition will win all five seats. The Congress fielded its candidates in Jamkhandi and Ballari, while the Janata Dal (Secular) contested from Shivamogga, Mandya and Ramnagara.
Minister of Irrigation and Medical Education DK Shivakumar said issues like Ram Mandir cannot be used as a “political plank” in South India. “People are looking at what they are going to get, what benefit they are going to get in social and economic sector, admn [administration] and transparency,” ANI quoted him as saying.
The term of those who win the three Lok Sabha seats will be short, as General Elections will be held in the coming summer.
The bye-elections were necessitated after Yeddyurappa, B Sriramalu, and CS Puttaraju of JD(S) resigned as MPs of Shivamogga, Ballari and Mandya on their election to the Assembly in May earlier this year. Bypolls to Jamkhandi Assembly seat were called after Congress MLA Siddu Nyamagouda died, while Ramanagara fell vacant after Kumaraswamy gave up the seat over Channapatna, the second constituency from where he had won.