In a major political development as the results of the Karnataka election was announced, two young Ministers from the Congress government have won their legislative seats after witnessing a high-stake battle in their respective constituencies.
Sitting Minister for IT, BT (Information Technology, Biotechnology) and Tourism, Priyank Kharge faced a tough fight in Kalaburagi district’s Chittapur against Valmiki Naik of of the BJP.
While Priyank got 69,700 votes, Valmiki got 65,307 votes. The JD(S) hadn't fielded a candidate, and instead campaigned for BSP candidate Devaraja VK, who secured 1,218 votes.
The 38-year-old son of Congress heavyweight Mallikarjun Kharge, was up against former MLA Valmiki Naik, a local strongman, who had defeated Priyank in the 2009 bye-poll in Chittapur.
Mallikarjun Kharge was the MLA of Chittapur constituency after winning the 2008 Assembly elections. In 2009, he got elected as an MP and so he resigned from the post. In the bye-election that followed Mallikarjun's resignation, Priyank lost to Naik.
However in 2013, the same candidates faced off against each other again, and Priyank Kharge won with 69,379 votes compared to Valmiki's 38,188 votes, with a margin of 31,191 votes.
The Congress had several loyal voters in the town that the party was banking on, with Priyank even pointing out that he has brought development projects worth several hundreds of crores to his constituency, including the Nagavi Education Hub.
The BJP, on the other hand, was banking on anti-incumbency and claimed that Priyank had not developed the rural areas in his constituency.
Krishna Byre Gowda
In Byatarayanapura, a suburb of Bengaluru, Congress candidate Krishna Byre Gowda won after he manged to secure 1.14 lakh votes.
In this electoral battle, the Minister of Agriculture for State found himself contesting against A Ravi from the BJP, while the JD(S) had fielded Chandra TG.
Krishna Byre Gowda is the first MLA from the Byataranyapura constituency which was formed after the 2008 delimitation.
Gowda won against BJP candidate A Ravi with a margin of 9,352 votes in 2008 and widened the gap to 32,400 votes against the same opponent in 2013.
This time too, Gowda, who hails from the dominant Vokkaliga community, had said that he did not feel that anti-incumbency was a factor.
Earlier this month, Gowda also found his name on a list released by the Bangalore Political Action Committee (B.PAC), endorsing 28 candidates from across 18 constituencies from Bengaluru.
Incumbent candidates were selected based on two aspects. This included their attendance and participation in Assembly sessions, and the development works initiated in their constituencies.
In the 2013 Assembly election, Krishna Byre Gowda won got 96,125 votes compared to BJP's Ravi, who got 62,727 votes. In 2013, JD(S) candidate Hanumante Gowda had polled 41,360 votes. This time, the JD(S) had fielded Chandra TG.