Out of the 15 constituencies that went to bye-elections, the Congress won two seats, while the JD(S) failed to secure leads in any segment.

news Karnataka Bye-polls Monday, December 09, 2019 - 13:55

In what is touted as a referendum for the BS Yediyurappa-led government in Karnataka, the BJP won 12 seats in the bye-elections, which were held on December 5. The BJP government, which came to power on July 26, after toppling the Congress-JD(S) coalition, needed to win six constituencies to seal its hold in Karnataka. 

Out of the 15 constituencies that went to bye-elections, the Congress won two seats, while the JD(S) did not win a single seat. Independetn candidate Sharat Bachegowda won the Hoskote seat.

As the BJP emerged victorious, Congress leader and former minister DK Shivakumar accepted defeat. Once the results were announced, former Chief Minister Siddaranaiah stepped down from his post as the Congress Legislature Party Leader. Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President Dinesh Gundu Rao also resigned from his post. Both leaders said it was their moral responsibility to resign. 

Speaking to the media after the victory trend was set, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said that the disqualified MLAs, who won the bye-elections would get ministerial berths. 

“We will give ministerial berths to all disgruntled MLAs who helped us come back to power. I am from Bookanakere in Mandya and I am extremely happy to know that our candidate has won in Mandya. This is a big victory and I thank all the party workers, who worked day and night to ensure our victory. With the new leaders in our fold, we will work towards strengthening the party. We will speak with the high command and see what can be done with those leaders who did not win,” Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said. 

The winners 

Several of the turncoats, who were given BJP tickets are expected to win the bye-election.

BJP candidate from KR Pete, KC Narayana Gowda defeated JD(S)’s BL Devaraj. In Hirekerur, BJP’s BC Patil won against Congress’ BH Bhannikod. In Chikkaballapura, K Sudhakar defeated Congress candidate M Anjanappa. In Gokak constituency, Ramesh Jarkiholi defeated his brother and Congress candidate, Lakhan Jarkiholi. 

In Kagwad, BJP’s Srimanth Patil defeated Congress candidate Raju Kage. Anand Singh, the BJP candidate from Ballari’s Vijayanagara defeated Congress’ Venkatrao Ghorpade. In Bengaluru’s Mahalakshmi Layout, JD(S) turncoat, who was given a BJP ticket -- K Gopalaiah defeated Congress candidate M Shivaraj. 

Byrathi Basavaraj, the BJP candidate from KR Puram was defeated his former mentee and Congress candidate M Narayanaswamy. ST Somashekar, meanwhile, defeated JD(S)’ Javayayi Gowda from Yeshwanthpur. In Athani, Mahesh Kumatahalli defeated his Congress opponent, Gajanan Mangsuli. 

In Yellapur, Shivaram Hebbar won against Congress candidate Bhimanna Naik. In Ranebennur, BJP candidate Arun Kumar, who was pitted against Congress heavyweight KB Koliwad, won.

The disqualified MLAs emerged victorious in 11 of the 12 segments that the BJP bagged. 

The Congress, meanwhile, won only two seats, in Shivajinagar and Hunsur. In Hunsur, the party’s HP Manjunath defeated JD(S) turncoat, AH Vishwanath, who contested on a BJP ticket. The party’s Rizwan Arshad won the elections in Shivajinagar and defeated the BJP’s A Saravana. Sources said that Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had advised AH Vishwanath not to contest elections as the surveys conducted by the BJP indicated that he would lose. However, Vishwanath allegedly wanted to fight the polls to prove his mettle. 

Independent candidate and former BJP Yuva Morcha General Secretary, Sharat Bachegowda wrested the Hoskote seat from BJP candidate and one of the richest politicians in the state — MTB Nagaraj. 

With this victory in 12 segments, the party holds 117 seats in the 222-member Assembly. The total strength of the Karnataka Assembly is 224, with bye-elections yet to be held in Rajarajeshwarinagar and Maski.

What necessitated the bye-polls

The bye-elections were necessitated after 17 legislators with the Congress-JD(S) coalition resigned from their posts in July this year, accusing the then Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy of misadministration. Ten of the 17 MLAs had flown to Mumbai in a private chartered plane until the vote of confidence brought down the coalition. The Congress and JD(S) leaders had accused the BJP of bribing these MLAs and forcing them to resign. The former Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar had disqualified the rebel MLAs. Speaker Ramesh Kumar had also barred them from contesting polls till the end of the 15th Karnataka Legislative Assembly. 

The rebels had moved the Supreme Court in August this year and finally, in November, the Supreme Court upheld their disqualifications but also maintained that the Speaker could not determine the period in which these rebels could not contest. A day after the Supreme Court verdict, the BJP inducted 16 of the 17 rebels into its fold, and were given tickets to contest in the bye-elections.