news Monday, August 25, 2014 - 05:30
The News Minute | August 25, 2014 | 3.45 pm IST Soon after the results of the by-polls were announced, Kanakapura’s D K Shivkumar earned a new sobriquet from his party members: Congress’ Amit Shah. After all, he delivered Bellary Rural to the Congress, wresting it from the Reddy brothers and their aide B Sriramulu. Widely known to be a strategist within the Congress, D K Shivkumar is said to have played a key role in Congress candidate N Y Gopalkrishna’s win. The win is all the more sweeter as Gopalkrishna’s winning margin and the total number of votes he polled are better (even though only just) than B Sriramulu’s when he won the seat in May 2013. Gopalkrishna beat BJP candidate Obalesh, who is an aide of mining baron B Sriramulu with a margin of 33,144 votes. Gopalkrishna secured a total of 83,906 votes and Obalesh polled 50,802 votes. By-polls had to be held in the seat after B Sriramulu was elected to the Lok Sabha in May. B Sriramulu polled 74,854 votes during the last Assembly election, and he beat the Congress candidate Asundi Vannurappa by a margin of 33,294 votes. For once, it appears that the factionalism and lack of unity characteristic of the Congress, was seen in the BJP instead. All thanks to Shivkumar, whose strategies of “keeping the enemy closer” appear to have thrown the BJP cadre off-track. Since G Janardhan Reddy’s arrest in 2009, the Reddy brothers’ influence appears to have diminished in the region. Sources in the know say that B Sriramulu did not really spend much during the by-poll election. Also, some within the family were upset that Sriramulu’s sister J Shantha was not given the party ticket. Enter D K Shivkumar, who has been camped in the district for several days now. Shivumar’s stratagem of “keeping his enemies closer” in Godfather style appears to have paid off. The master stroke perhaps, was to spend a night in G Somashekar Reddy’s house. This earned him the nick-name “kareyade baruvavana” (uninvited guest), from BJP leader K S Eshwarappa. Speaking to reporters, Eshwarappa had said: “Our Somashekar, did not call him.” While the senior BJP leadership lashed out against Shivkumar's tactics, the lower rung of the party's cadre was thrown into disarray with such a display of seeming camaraderie between two leaders who are supposed to be on opposite sides of the battle lines. In such a scenario, rumours of the Congress luring BJP leaders with money did not help. This prompted some BJP leaders to support the Congress.  With D.K.Shi., as he is popularly known, camped out in the mining town, various Congress leaders worked to support their candidate. There was a feeling that if Gopalkrishna won, he would be made minister and thereby, a share of the glory would go to all those who helped out. The Congress has also held Chikkodi-Sadalga, with Ganesh Hukkeri winning the seat vacated by his father. Shikaripura went to B Y Raghavendra, who won the seat his father B S Yeddyurappa vacated after he was elected to the Lok Sabha from Shimoga. Two out three is not a bad number. With this win, Siddaramaiah appears to have won one round of the power tussle between him and former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, and has also temporarily silenced his detractors within the party.

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