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Karnataka bypolls 2018: In Shivamogga, BJP scrapes through to bag its only win

Karnataka Bypoll Results 2018: The bypoll was necessitated as state BJP chief Yeddyurappa had vacated the Shimoga seat after he was elected to the assembly from the Shikaripura seat.

india Updated: Nov 06, 2018 22:34 IST
Vikram Gopal, Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Shimoga bypoll results,Karnataka bypoll Results,Karnataka bypolls
Former chief minister and Karnataka BJP President BS Yeddyurappa, senior state leaders KS Eshwarappa and Sadananda Gowda with party candidate for Shimoga Lok Sabha seat Raghvendra join hands to show unity during an election rally in Shivamogga on October 31.(PTI Photo)

While the Shivamogga Lok Sabha constituency was the one bright spot on Tuesday for the Bharatiya Janata Party as results of the byelections to five seats in the state were announced, the victory was tempered by the fact that the party managed to scrape through with a margin of only 52,148 votes.

By-polls were held for Shivamogga, after the BJP’s state president BS Yeddyurappa vacated it in favour of the assembly, having won Shikaripura constituency in May, when the BJP had won 104 of 224 seats in the state. Yeddyurappa subsequently made a failed bid to stake a claim to forming the government, in the process setting a record for the shortest tenure for a chief minister in the state, lasting only three days.

The BJP decided to back Yeddyurappa’s son BY Raghavendra, who won the seat earlier in 2009. Raghavendra won against Madhu Bangarappa of the Janata Dal (Secular), by a margin of 52,148 votes, which was significantly less than Yeddyurappa’s margin of over 350,000 votes in 2014.

Madhu, the younger son of former chief minister S Bangarappa, was the ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition’s candidate and the alliance pulled out all stops to ensure an upset in the seat, with former chief minister Siddaramaiah of the Congress and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda of the JD(S) touring the constituency extensively.

The constituency witnessed a battle between sons of former chief ministers, with Janata Dal (United) fielding Mahima Patel, son of former chief minister JH Patel. Shivamogga has in recent years become a stronghold of the BJP, which has continued its hold on the Lok Sabha seat since 2004, when S Bangarappa won. Yeddyurappa enjoys considerable clout in the district, which is home to the Shikaripura constituency that has been retained in his family for three decades now.

The Congress-JD(S) alliance billed the contest as a semi-final before 2019 Lok Sabha elections, and worked hard to ensure smooth functioning of cadre.

There are clear reasons for the BJP to worry even in the victory. Madhu won 491,000 votes in the constituency, which was slightly higher than the combined tallies of the Congress and JD(S) in 2014, 482,000. Raghavendra’s tally was 543,000, compared with Yeddyurappa’s 605,000 in 2014.

Fewer voters exercised their franchise in these polls, which all three parties termed unnecessary as the term for the victors would be just be about six months. Voting percentage this time was 61.05% against 72.36% in 2014, a reduction that was also witnessed in other seats.

The Congress and JD(S) hailed the coalition’s performance, saying there was very little for the BJP to celebrate and a lot for them to take heart from. One reason the leaders attributed for the failure was that Madhu was selected as a candidate at the very end.

Yeddyurappa credited the people of Shivamogga for seeing through what he termed as the machinations of the Congress-JD(S) alliance. “It is a credit to the people of Shivamogga that they did not fall prey to the dirty tricks of the alliance,” he said.

The JD(S) fielded Madhu, the younger son of the former chief minister S Bangarappa, with the Congress’ support, and Janata Dal (United) candidate Mahima Patel, son of former chief minister JH Patel, was the third big name candidate in the constituency.

Raghavendra’s father, BJP’s state unit chief BS Yeddyurappa, had vacated the Shivamogga seat after he was elected to the assembly from the Shikaripura seat.

The Shivamogga Lok Sabha seat has been won by members of the Yeddyurappa family in the last two elections. It is a district where Yeddyurappa enjoys considerable clout, and it is also home to the Shikaripura constituency, which has been retained in the family for three decades.

There was a low turnout in Shivamogga, where 61.05% voters exercised their franchise on Saturday as against 72.36% in 2014.

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First Published: Nov 06, 2018 07:04 IST