The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Karnataka on Tuesday secured both seats – Sira and Rajarajeshwari Nagar – where bye-elections were conducted on November 3. Counting of the votes was done on Tuesday along with 10 other states that went to polls along with Karnataka.

The two constituencies are situated in south Karnataka, where the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Congress had a stronghold before the bye-polls.

In Tumkur district’s Sira constituency, Bharatiya Janata Party’s CM Rajesh Gowda won by a margin of 13,414 votes against Congress’ TB Jayachandra, who is a six-time legislator. Gowda, who made his electoral debut, secured 76,564 votes while Jayachandra received 63,150.

Janata Dal (Secular) candidate Ammajamma, also contesting for the first time, came third with 36,783 votes. In 2018, Jayachandra had lost to JD(S) leader and husband of Ammajamma, B Sathyanarayana. Sira was vacated after Satyaranarayana’s death in August.

In Bengaluru’s RR Nagar, BJP’s Munirathna Naidu – whose exit from the Congress to join the BJP made the bye-polls necessary – secured 1,25,990 votes. Congress candidate Kusuma H secured second place with 67,877 votes, followed by Janata Dal (Secular)’s Krishnamurthy V who won 10,269.

Though the bye-poll results would have not affected the stability of the BS Yediyurappa-led government, the contest was seen as a reflection on its performance, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

The BJP, Congress, and the JD(S) had reached out to the Vokkaliga, a dominant Hindu community in the two constituencies, during the campaigns. The BJP and the Congress have also accused each other of playing caste politics, according to The Economic Times.

The JD(S), which has seen quite a few electoral setbacks after 2018, had attempted to retain Sira to keep its hold in the Old Mysuru region, according to The Hindu.

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