With the ruling BJP winning five of the eight assembly by- elections whose results were announced on Tuesday, its strategy of encouraging defections to secure a majority seems to have succeeded.
Four of the five winners — Balachandra Jarakiholi from Arabhavi, Umesh Katti from Hukkeri, K Shivanagouda Naik from Devadurga and Anand Asnotikar from Karwar — are defectors.
The first three had won the state assembly election last May on Janata Dal (S) tickets, while the fourth was a Congress
candidate. All four were made ministers upon shifting their allegiance to the BJP, but lost their seats according to the provisions of the anti defection law, and had to re-contest for the second time in seven months.
With the victories of these five, the BJP, which earlier held only 110 seats in the 224 house, now has 115 — a secure majority. Its effective floor strength stands at 120, with five independents too having already declared their support.
In return, four of these Independents have also been made ministers, while the fifth became chairman of a state-owned enterprise. “The sweeping victory of BJP candidates shows the people’s approval of our programmes, policies and the performance of the government during the last seven month,” said chief minister B. S. Yeddyurappa at a news conference.
The Janata Dal (S) won the remaining three seats, while the Congress drew a blank.
Among the JD(S) winners was Anita Kumaraswamy, wife of former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and daughter-in-law of JD(S) chief and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda. Anita, making her political debut, won from Madhugiri in Tumkur district of the state.