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Karnataka Bypolls: BS Yediyurappa Sports Rare Smile as Gamble to Field Disqualified MLAs Pays Off

Facing a do-or-die battle, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa campaigned aggressively and extensively for the party in all 15 seats that went to bypolls, cleverly making local issues the main factor in the by-elections.

D P Satish | dp_satish

Updated:December 9, 2019, 11:07 PM IST
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Karnataka Bypolls: BS Yediyurappa Sports Rare Smile as Gamble to Field Disqualified MLAs Pays Off
BS Yediyurappa, the Karnataka Chief Minister, blesses his son Vijayendra.

Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa is a happy man this Monday. Perhaps for the first time since he took charge following a coup of sorts against the JD(S)-Congress coalition last July, Yediyurappa broke into a big smile as trends started trickling in on bypolls result day.

It was a do-or-die battle for him. He had to win at least six seats to remain in power.

Aware of the dangers, Yediyurappa, the BJP's only pan Karnataka leader, campaigned aggressively and extensively for the party in all 15 seats that went to bypolls.

Ignoring protests and warnings from his own party leaders, Yediyurappa had fielded 13 of the 15 disqualified MLAs in the by-elections.

Cleverly avoiding the national issues, he made the locals issues the main factor in the by-elections. In an emotional appeal to the voters, he said this was his last innings and they had to vote for him, not the candidates.

In the six Lingayat-dominated seats, he had played the caste card, asking voters not to ditch their tall caste leader in his last stint in the CM’s Office.

His promise of making all disqualified MLAs cabinet ministers in the government seems to have also worked in favour of the BJP.

Speaking to the media, a beaming Yediyurappa termed it as the people’s win and said that he will fulfil all his promises, focussing now more on governance and less on politics.

On the other hand, the Congress campaign was led by former CM Siddaramaiah and KPCC president Dinesh Gundurao. The other top leaders had stayed away from campaigning, alleging that these two leaders have ‘hijacked’ the Congress.

According to candidates, the party lacked strategy and resources.

Commenting on the results, Siddaramaiah called the BJP’s victory a “win for money power over morality”.

The JD(S), however, is the biggest loser in this election. HD Kumaraswamy was hoping for a fractured mandate. With the BJP reaching the majority mark on its own, the JD(S) is expected to implode soon.

A shocked Gowda clan has attacked the BJP for allegedly splurging beyond the permitted limit in the bypolls.

Former minister HD Revanna said the entire government machinery was working in favour of the BJP.

The BJP high command, which seems to be uncomfortable with Yediyurappa, will have to work with him, giving him a free hand to retain its only southern state.

The Karnataka Assembly has 224 seats. Two seats are still vacant because of pending election-related petitions before the courts.

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