Karnataka by-polls: BJP Minister Somanna loses; Congress gets a drubbing

MIxed fortunes for BJP



Constituency

Winner

Loser

Votes Counted

Chittapur

Valmiki Nayak (BJP)

 Priyank Kharge  (INC)

1606

Govindrajanagar

Priya Krishna (INC)

 V.Somanna (BJP)


5239

Ramnagaram

K.Raju (JD(S))

 C M Lingappa(INC)

22019

Channapatna

Ashwath M C (JD(S))

 C P  Yogeshwara (BJP)

        2282

Kollegal

G.N.Nanjundaswamy(BJP)

 S. Jayanna(INC)

8267
















Somanna, the religious endowment and housing minister, was defeated by Congress novice Priya Krishna in Govindarajnagar in western Bangalore by 5,239 votes, the state election authorities announced.

Somanna had won the seat as a Congress candidate in May 2008 assembly polls but quit the seat and the party to join the BJP ahead of this year's Lok Sabha elections. He was rewarded with a ministership.

Hence Govindarajnagar had become a prestige battle for Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who has received flak from his party members for wooing opposition legislators with promise of plum posts.

Another Congress defector to the BJP to be defeated was C.P. Yogeshwar, a Kannada film actor and realtor. He lost to M.C. Ashwath of the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) in Channapatna, 60 km from here.
Yogeshwar, who had represented the constituency as the Congress MLA, had quit the party and unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections from Bangalore Rural as BJP nominee.

The BJP, however, scored a big win when its candidate Valmiki Naik defeated Kharge's son Priyank, contesting an election for the first time, by 1,606 votes in Chittapur (Scheduled Caste) constituency in Gulbarga in north Karnataka, about 600 km from here.

Kharge had vacated the Chittapur seat on his election to the Lok Sabha.

The BJP also had the consolation of wresting Kollegal, around 120 km from here, from the Congress. Its candidate G.N. Nanjundaswamy defeated S. Jayanna of the Congress by a margin of 8,267 votes.

The loss of Kollegal is a setback to Congress leader Siddaramaiah, a former JD-S strongman. Kollegal is in Chamarajnagar district, neighbouring Mysore. The two districts are considered to be Siddaramaiah's pocketboroughs.

Kollegal was made the leader of the Congress legislature party, a reward for joining the party after rebelling against JD-S president and former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda's "family politics".
JD-S retained its stronghold Ramanagara, about 50 km from here, with its candidate K. Raju defeating C.M. Lingappa of Congress by 22,019 votes.

Of the five seats, the Congress had held four and the JD-S one. The Congress has conceded two seats to the BJP and one to the JD-S.

While the Congress and the BJP contested all the five seats, the JD-S had backed the Congress in Govindarajnagar following the rejection of the nomination of its candidate.

For the Congress, the loss is all the more difficult to live with as its state stalwarts union External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and union Law Minister Veerappa Moily had extensively campaigned for the party candidates.

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