For the first time in Karnataka, a father-daughter duo will be legislators in the state Assembly at the same time.
While Sowmya Reddy won the polls from Jayanagar in Bengaluru for the Congress, her father is Congress heavyweight Ramalinga Reddy, currently MLA of neighbouring BTM Layout. He has served as a minister many times and was Home Minister is the Siddaramaiah government.
The Congress despite facing stiff criticism for its ‘dynastic politics’ had gone ahead and given tickets for the Assembly polls to sons (Sowmya being the only daughter in that list) of prominent leaders of the party.
Father-son duos are quite common in the assembly and the Congress has two prominent father-son duo this time— Siddaramaiah and his son Yathindra and Shamanur Shivashankarappa and his son SS Mallikarjun.
Noted political commentator, Mahadev Prakash said that the only other occasion when a daughter of a prominent politician in Karnataka made the cut was when Chandraprabha Urs, became an MLA and minister in 1983. But this was after the death of her father and former CM Devaraj Urs.
The Jayanagar seat was incidentally held by Ramalinga Reddy, before delimitation. Following delimitation, Ramalinga Reddy shifted to BTM layout. The BJP held the Jayanagar seat since then, thanks to BN Vijaya Kumar.
While, rest of the state went to polls on May 12, polling in Jayanagar constituency was deferred after BN Vijaya Kumar, who was seeking re-election, passed away onMay 4 (after the date of notification). Elections were postponed in RR Nagar seat too, following large scale seizures of Voter ID cards from an apartment in the constituency.
In both these elections following the formation of coalition government, Congress emerged victorious limiting BJP’s tally to 104 seats in the state Assembly.
Commenting on the victory, Ramalinga Reddy said, “There was a responsibility to win. There were others who were aspiring for ticket. In Jayanagar, I am still familiar with people. After our government came to power, we did much developmental work and the constituency had benefited. I thank CM Kumaraswamy, Rahul Gandhi and other leaders of the state. A victory is a victory regardless of the margin.
He said that he had won from the same seat from 1979 for the first time and his daughter had seen his work. He added, “She had a desire to help people and being a legislator she can work in that direction.”
At the end of counting, Sowmya defeated BJP’s BN Prahalad, brother of sitting Jayanagar MLA with a slender margin of 2889 votes.
In Jayanagar, what might have worked in Congress’ favour despite the sympathy wave for the BJP is the withdrawal of JD(S) from the electoral fray.
After the results were announced, a triumphant Sowmya said, “This is just not my victory. It is the victory of each and every person who has put an effort to make this happen. It is for Congress party workers, leaders, of course my family and my father, Mr Ramalinga Reddy’s victory. I have to thank the party High Command for actually believing in me giving me a ticket,” the MLA-elect told reporters.