As the Congress juggernaut rolled on in Karnataka, 12 ministers of the Jagadish Shettar cabinet, including deputy chief minister KS Eshwarappa, fell by the wayside, adding insult to the injuries of the vanquished BJP.
Eshwarappa’s loss in Shimoga is all the more significant as he was a former state unit president of the party and also held the key portfolios of rural development and panchayat raj and revenue.
Eshwarappa lost by about 5,000 votes, and was behind his Congress and KJP (Karnataka Janatha Paksha of former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa) opponents. Eshwarappa was in the “hit-list” of Yeddyurappa who now had the “sweet revenge”.
Another big gun to lose was industries minister Murugesh R Nirani, who had spearheaded two global investors meet, and was in two minds till the last minute whether to join forces with KJP but eventually continued to be in BJP, in Bilgi.
He lost by 11,000 votes to Congress’ JT Patil in the constituency, where KJP had not fielded any candidate.
Other ministers who lost included V Somanna (Vijayanagar), BN Bache Gowda (Hoskote), Revunaik Belamagi (Gulbarga Rural), Sogadu Shivanna (Tumkur), SK Bellubbi (Basavana Bagewadi), Kalakappa Bandi (Ron), SA Ravindranatha (Davangere North), SA Ramadass (Krishnaraja) and Anand Asnotikar (Karwar).
Congress was not without “significant casualties”. In a shock defeat, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president G Parameshwara, also a chief ministerial candidate, lost in Koratagere in Tumkur district to JD(S) opponent, PR Sudhakara Lal, by more than 18,000 votes.
Congress candidate and former union civil aviation minister CM Ibrahim was pushed to third position in Bhadrawati.
Meanwhile, infrastructure-entrepreneur of Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Project Ashok Kheny, the Karnataka Makkala Paksha candidate, won from Bidar South, defeating sitting JD(S) MLA Bandeppa Kashempur by more than 3,000 votes.