Karnataka Chooses Leader Over Party as All Except 2 Turncoats Help Yediyurappa Govt Make Clean Sweep
The by-elections in Karnataka were necessitated when 17 MLAs, 16 of them from the then ruling Congress-JD(S) government, resigned, leading to the fall of the coalition government.
Of the 13 Congress and JD(S) turncoats that the Bharatiya Janata Party had fielded in bypolls for 15 assembly seats in Karnataka, 11 won their seats to allow the saffron party to retain power in the state. The BJP secured won on 12 seats, the Congress settled with two, while one went to an Independent candidate. The JD(S) failed to open its account.
With two seats still vacant — Maski and RR Nagar — the BJP, which already has the support of 106 MLAs (one Independent), had to win at least six of the 15 seats to retain power in the state as the effective strength of the otherwise 224-member strong House increases to 222. As the majority mark shifts to 112, the saffron party now sits comfortably with 118 legislators.
The by-elections in Karnataka were necessitated when 17 MLAs, 16 of them from the then ruling Congress-JD(S) government, resigned, leading to the fall of the coalition government. The Supreme Court upheld the disqualification but allowed the disqualified MLAs to contest again. A majority of these rebel MLAs eventually joined the BJP. The party rewarded 13 of these rebels with tickets — to contest from the same seats which they had resigned from — for the December 5 bypolls.
Jarkiholi Ramesh Laxmanrao, who had won the Gokak assembly seat for the Congress in 2018, secured the seat again for the BJP. Interestingly, Laxmanrao has been winning the same seat for the Congress since 2008. Similarly, BJP candidate Arabail Hebbar Shivaram won from Yellapur constituency, a seat which he had won on a Congress ticket in 2018 and 2013. Shivaram had lost from the same seat in 2008 while contesting on a Congress ticket.
Likewise, BJP candidates Mahesh Iranagouda Kumathalli, K Sudhakar, BA Basavaraja, and ST Somashekar who won from Athani, Chikkaballapur, KR Pura and Yeshwanthpur constituencies respectively were all Congress MLAs in the outgoing house (2013-2018) and were re-elected from the same seats last year too.
In a clear show of prominence of the leader over the party that he represents, Anand Singh won the Vijayanagara seat for the BJP again. Singh has held the seat since 2008, winning it for the BJP in 2008 and 2013 assembly elections. He jumped ship in February 2018 ahead of the elections to join the Congress and won the seat for the grand old party. He was then among the leading faces to desert the Congress-JD(S) coalition in July this year. After joining the BJP last month, he was again fielded from his turf of Vijayanagara by the BJP, which he won on Monday.
The only rebels who failed to win their seats were N Nagaraju (MTB) and Adaguru H Vishwanath. Nagaraju, previously a Congress MLA from Hosakote, lost the same to an Independent whereas Vishwanath, who had won the Hunasuru seat in 2018 on a JD(S) ticket, lost to the Congress in the bypolls. Apart from Hunasuru, the Congress could only manage to win Shivajinagar.
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