BJP’s Karnataka win emboldens B S Yediyurappa’s position in party
In May 2018, the BJP, under Yediyurappa, failed to win a simple majority in the assembly polls, despite emerging as the single-largest party. Many thought 76-year-old Yediyurappa’s political career was almost over.Updated: Dec 10, 2019 06:16 IST
With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday winning 12 of the 15 seats that went to bypolls on December 5, chief minister B S Yediyurappa (BSY) has emerged as the victor and indispensable to the party.
In May 2018, the BJP, under Yediyurappa, failed to win a simple majority in the assembly polls, despite emerging as the single-largest party. Many thought 76-year-old Yediyurappa’s political career was almost over.
But the BJP won 25 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in the 2019 parliamentary polls, though the victory was credited to the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah Shah duo.
The BJP high command, which insists on leaders retiring after reaching 75, however, made an exception in Karnataka.
And after Monday’s results, BSY proved his mettle once again. In the bypolls, the survival of the government was at stake ad no senior central BJP leader campaigned for the party.
The bypolls were held to fill the vacancies caused by the disqualification of 17 rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs, whose resignation led to the collapse of the 14-month-old HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition government in July. After that, Yediyurappa came to power.
BSY took a risk by rewarding all rebel MLAs with tickets and a promise of a cabinet berth even amidst internal opposition in the party. The scale of victory is likely to strengthen Yediyurappa.
The BJP chose to field 13 of the “turncoat” MLAs, denying tickets only to R Shankar in Ranibennur and Roshan Baig in Shivajinagar constituencies.
Of the 13, 11 have been now re-elected on the BJP symbol. The lone independent candidate to win was BJP rebel Sharath Bachegowda from Hoskote.
Of all the victories, the BJP would savour the one in Krishnarajapete (K R Pete) the most. There is a reason for it.
In Karnataka, the BJP historically has been seen as a Lingayat – Brahmin party, JD(S) as a Vokkaliga party and the Congress as a party for OBCs and minorities.
In spite its best efforts, the BJP historically had not been able to win many seats in the Vokkaliga-dominated Southern Karnataka (also called Old Mysuru) region.
On Monday, the BJP scripted history by recording its first ever win in the Vokkaliga bastion of Mandya district.
BJP candidate Narayana Gowda defeated B L Devaraj of the JD(S) by over 9,700 votes in K R Pete of Mandya district, which has been dominated by Congress and JD(S) for decades, and where the BJP had no presence.
Gowda is one among the three disqualified JD(S) legislators who the BJP had fielded as its candidate in the bypolls.
On the other hand, the Congress was hit by factional feuds.
Of the major leaders of the party, only former CLP leader Siddaramaiah, DK Shivakumar and former KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao campaigned.