Congress routed in Karnataka
Aided by the Vajpayee brand, BJP has pulled of a splendid performance in Karnataka winning 18 out of the 28 seats.
Aided by the anti-incumbency factor and riding on the Vajpayee brand, the BJP on Thursday pulled off a splendid performance in the Lok Sabha polls in Karnataka, winning 18 of the 28 seats adding 11 more to its kitty and therefore dealing a massive blow to the ruling Congress.
In a double humiliation, the Congress which lost power in a fractured verdict in the assembly polls, conceded eight seats to BJP which more than doubled its tally from the last Lok Sabha polls. Another key player JDS-led by former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda bagged the remaining two.
Congress managed to retain Kolar, Gulbarga, Raichur, Koppal, Mandya, Chikkaballapur and found a solace in wresting Kanakapura seat from former Prime Minister Deve Gowda of JDS and Chitradurga from JDU.
In the 1999 parliamentary polls, the Congress had won 17, BJP 7, JDU 3 and JDS 1.
BJP leader Ramachandra Veerappa did not encounter much trouble in carving out his seventh successive win from Bidar Reserved constituency, while its debutant candidate, the cop-turned politician, HT Sangliana, shocked Congress veteran, CK Jaffer Sharief from Bangalore North wresting the seat from him.
Sangliana derailed the former railway minister's hopes of chalking out seventh successive win and gave him the taste of his first electoral defeat.
BJP also handed out another shock to Congress when it conquered its strongest bastion Bellary, which has the tradition of electing Congress candidates ever since the 1952 General Elections.
Earlier the constituency gave an overwhelming victory to Congress president Sonia Gandhi against BJP's high-profile leader Sushma Swaraj in 1999. After Gandhi quit Bellary to retain Amethi, Bellary voters had elected Congress nominee Kolur Basavanagouda in the bye-election.
The Lok Sabha seats that BJP wrested from Congress are, Bellary, Tumkur, Bangalore North, Mysore, Udupi, Shimoga, Kanara, Dharwad South, Belgaum and Bagalkot.
Karnataka unit BJP president, Anantkumar, who gave up his ministerial berth to build the party in the state, retained the Bangalore South seat, winning it for the fourth successive term.
Former Chief Minister S Bangarappa, who deserted the Congress and donned saffron robes, proved his worth winning the Shimoga seat in a prestigious contest.
Deve Gowda, who was confident of retaining his Kanakapura seat was humbled by Congress there when its candidate TV journalist and political novice Tejaswini Ramesh emerging victorious by more than one lakh votes. However, Gowda was rehabilitated in his home district Hassan, which he won.
The JDS was successful in winning the Chamarajnagar seat held by its party leader and former union minister V Srinivas Prasad who had won it on JDU symbol in 1999.