Making his political debut, Dr Yathindra Siddaramaiah won comfortably from Varuna constituency in Mysuru district, beating his closest rival Thotadappa Basavaraju from the BJP by over 45,000.
Yathindra’s win comes after his father Siddaramaiah vacated the Varuna seat for his younger son. A doctor by profession, Yathindra stepped into politics after the death of his brother Rakesh and is widely being viewed as Siddaramaiah’s successor.
A self-confessed introvert, Yathindra was expected to take on BS Yeddyurappa’s son, BY Vijayendra, in Varuna. However, the BJP fielded Basavaraju instead in an eleventh-hour decision.
Supporters of Vijayendra had turned violent when Basavaraju, an RSS supporter and a close associate of senior leader BL Santhosh, was given the ticket, and the party high command had to ask the state BJP leaders to calm the situation down. Vijayendra later apologised for what his supporters did and said he would remain in the constituency and said he would campaign for the candidate.
With his victory, this is the third election the Siddaramaiah family has won from Varuna – during the 2008 and 2013 Assembly elections, Siddaramaiah won the seat by a convincing margin.
Rumours of Yathindra contesting began doing the rounds last year, when he visited the Chamundeshwari temple in Mysuru. After the temple visit, Yathindra took part in a meeting at Gunjral Chhatra Gram Panchayat, signalling his father’s intention to contest from the constituency.
Siddaramaiah had contested from Chamundeswari in the past but shifted to Varuna in 2008
after the election commission’s delimitation process. His victory from here by a convincing margin turned his political fortunes around.
In 2013 again, Siddaramaiah contested from Varuna again and beat his nearest rival, Kapu Siddalingaswamy from the KJP, by over 29,000 votes.
The Delimitation Commission had formed Varuna constituency after dissolving the Bannur
constituency. Several parts of the erstwhile Bannur constituency are now part of Varuna, along with some areas of Mysore taluk (earlier with Chamundeshwari), Nanjangud taluk and T. Narsipur taluk. The Varuna constituency has over 2 lakh voters.
The Assembly Elections in Karnataka, held on May 12, witnessed the highest voter turnout in the state in over 35 years. As the polling came to a close at 6 pm, the Election Commission announced that 72.13% voters turned out across Karnataka to vote.
The poll percentage is a marginal though significant improvement from 2013, which recorded 71.45%. The highest voter turnout before 2013 was in 1978 – when the state witnessed a polling percentage of 71.90%.