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With Jayanagar Win, Congress Number One in Bengaluru, Worries BJP

Congress stalwart R Ramalinga Reddy's daughter Sowmya Reddy has wrested Jayanagar back after 10 years from the BJP.

D P Satish | News18dp_satish

Updated:June 13, 2018, 1:09 PM IST
With Jayanagar Win, Congress Number One in Bengaluru, Worries BJP
HD Kumaraswamy greets Rahul Gandhi during a meeting in New Delhi. (PTI file photo)

Bengaluru: With a decent win in Jayanagar, the coalition partner Congress has maintained its leadership position in the state capital. With this, the Congress has won 16 out of 28 seats in the IT city.

Voting in Jayanagar was cancelled after the sitting MLA and BJP candidate BN Vijayakumar died a few days before the election.

Congress stalwart R Ramalinga Reddy's daughter Sowmya Reddy has wrested Jayanagar back after 10 years from the BJP.

The BJP had fielded deceased MLA's brother BN Prahlad Babu hoping that sympathy factor will work in their favour.

But Wednesday's results have dashed the hopes of saffron party.

After JD(S) and Congress formed the government in the state the Congress has won two seats that went to polls dealing a huge blow to the BJP which narrowly lost the Assembly elections.

Jayanagar in south Bengaluru is a compex seat whose demography actually favours the BJP post 2008 delimitation.

Before that R Ramalingareddy had won from here four consecutive terms between 1989 and 2008.

After the delimitation he shifted to neighboring BTM Layout keeping caste composition in mind. He has won thrice from there after that.

Jayanagar has over 70% middle class and upper middle class voters. It is also one of the posh residential areas in Bengaluru with good public amenities.

These factors actually favoured the BJP in previous Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.

Even in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Jayanagar had preferred BJP's Ananthkumar over Congress' Nandan Nilekani.

A few months ago the Congress had lost all hopes of regaining the lost seat and it was considered a BJP fortress.

Local MP and Union minister Ananthkumar himself had led BJP's campaign this time. Even party state chief B S Yeddyurappa had campaigned for the BJP asking voters to reject the "unholy" alliance of JDS and Congress.

The defeat at the hands of Congress is now being seen as their loosening grip over the constituency.

Reacting to this Congress leader from Bengaluru and MLC Rizwan Arshad said "Congress is the strongest party in Bengaluru. Our win in Jayanagar is a huge thing. We will sweep the city in the coming Lok Sabha elections".

Sowmya Reddy, the fifth woman MLA of the Congress this time, said that she was elated and thanked the voters for giving Jayanagar back to Congress.

When compared to BJP, the Congress' campaign was low key. No big leader of the party campaigned here. Ramalinga Reddy alone campaigned for his daughter.

The party's dismal performance in Bengaluru city did BJP in this time. They were hoping to win up to 20 seats and ended up winning just 11 seats. Out of that they won five seats by smaller margins.

"BJP claims that it is unstoppable in city areas. But it has lost badly in a major city like Bengaluru. What does it signify? There is no Modi wave. We will improve our performance in the Lok Sabha 2019 elections," said five-time Congress MLA from Bengaluru and KPCC working president Dinesh Gundurao.

A shocked BJP has said that party will assess the results and will change its strategy in the Lok Sabha elections.

Yeddyurappa has refused to react and his close aides say he upset. His faction is blaming Ananthkumar for the defeat saying that it is a huge loss of face for him as he is the local MP.

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