Anitha Kumaraswamy’s victory was guaranteed after BJP’s candidate L Chandrasekhar withdrew just two days before the bye-election.

No surprises in Ramanagara Anitha wife of CM Kumaraswamy wins bye-election
news Politics Tuesday, November 06, 2018 - 11:41

In what was essentially a walkover, Anitha Kumaraswamy, wife of Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy won the Ramanagara Assembly bye-elections on Tuesday. She won by a huge margin of 1.05 lakh votes, making her the first woman MLA from the seat.

On November 3, bye-elections were held to the Assembly seats of Ramanagara and Jamakhandi and three Lok Sabha seats of Ballari, Shimoga and Mandya. As things stand, the coalition partners are leading in four seats with BS Yeddyurappa’s son Raghavendra leading in Shimoga Lok Sabha seat.

In a major embarrassment for the BJP, its candidate L Chandrasekhar, son of a Congress MLC, withdrew just two days before the polls. Chandrasekhar, who defected to Congress, stated that the BJP top leadership’s reluctance to campaign for him forced him to forfeit the elections.

As part of the ongoing Congress-JD(S) alliance arrangement in Karnataka, Ramanagara was given to the JD(S) after Kumaraswamy decided to vacate the seat having won in both Ramanagara and adjacent Assembly segment Channapatna in the May Assembly Elections.

Irrespective of Chandrasekhar’s withdrawal, Anitha was a clear favourite with the old Mysuru region with BJP having no grassroot presence in the Vokkaliga dominated region, while traditionally seeing a no-holds-barred Congress vs JD(S) contest (between the Deve Gowda family and DK Shivakumar) and

With the two arch rivals joining hands, victory was in many ways guaranteed for Anitha.

Kumaraswamy has turned the Ramanagara seat into a fortress winning from the seat four times in a row since 2004. In the elections in May, when Kumaraswamy got 92,626 votes, the BJP’s little-known candidate Leelavathi, who finished third managed only 4,871 votes. In the previous three elections too, HDK had won with massive margins.

This is the second time that Anitha has won an Assembly seat. In 2008 she had won the Madhugiri Assembly bye-poll. In what was touted as a prestige battle, she had defeated Chennigappa, a former HD Deve Gowda confidante who had defected to the BJP. Following the 2008 victory, she had contested from the Channapatna seat in the 2013 Assembly Elections and from the Bengaluru Rural constituency in the 2014 Lok Sabha Election unsuccessfully.

Anitha was reportedly the first choice candidate for Channapatna in May but was sidelined after pressure from both within the family and outside. Former Prime Minister and JD(S) patriarch Deve Gowda was forced to declare that no more than two members from his family will take part in the proceedings. Denied a ticket in May, Anitha, however, campaigned in both Ramanagara and Channapatna while JD(S) chief Kumaraswamy crisscrossed the state in the run-up to the 2018 Assembly elections.

Besides being a politician, Anitha is a businesswoman who owns a news channel and a petrol pump among other enterprises including film production houses.