Cong back in power, BJP routed

* Dy CM Eshwarappa, 11 other ministers bite the dust * State Congress chief Parameshwara loses * KJP, BSR Congress fail to impress * JD-S improves t

Cong back in power, BJP routed

The Congress on Wednesday returned to power with a bang in Karnataka after seven years, routing the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Assembly elections. It won 121 seats, a clear majority to form a government on its own.

Of the 223 seats for which elections were held on May 5, the Congress clinched 31 seats more than it had secured in 2008, while the BJP and the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) managed to win 40 each.








Two regional parties — the Karnataka Janatha Party of B S Yeddyurappa and the Badavara Shramikara Raitara (BSR) Congress of B Sriramulu — performed poorly being reduced to single digits. Twelve of the 27 ministers in the Jagadish Shettar Cabinet were defeated.  It became clear that the voters, who came out in record numbers to exercise their franchise, have spoken against corruption, indiscipline and maladministration in the BJP.

The Assembly has a total of 224 seats. But elections were held for 223 seats. The election to the Periyapatna seat was postponed to May 28 because of the death of a BJP candidate.  A party must win 113 seats to get a simple majority.

The Congress, despite making an impressive comeback, was shocked with its State party president G Parameshwara losing the seat to the JD-S in Koratagere in Tumkur district. This is the first time the Congress president has lost the poll battle in recent years. Siddaramaiah, who is a strong contender for the chief minister post, has all the reasons to smile for he won the election smoothly at Varuna in Mysore district.

He retained the seat by trouncing KJP candidate Ka Pu Siddalingaswamy, an assistant of Yeddyurappa, with a margin of 29,641 votes.

Party presidents who managed to retain their seats are former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa (KJP) , H D Kumaraswamy  (JD-S) and B Sriramulu (BSR Congress). Yeddyurappa may draw solace that the BJP was humiliated, but his party could win just six seats. But his close confidante and former minister Shobha Karandlaje lost the battle to her one-time Cabinet colleague and BJP leader S Suresh Kumar. Her supporter former minister C M Udasi, too, lost the Hangal seat to the Congress.  The BSR Congress managed to win four seats.

The Samajwadi Party opened its account for the first time by winning the Chennapatna seat. C P Yogeeshwara, who failed to get the Congress ticket, contested on a SP ticket and packed off JD-S nominee Anitha Kumaraswamy, wife of H D Kumaraswamy. Deserting the Madhugiri constituency in Tumkur, which she had held, proved costly for her. H D Revanna, elder brother of Kumaraswamy, retained the Holenarasipura seat in Hassan district.

Bangalore–Mysore Infrastructure Corridor project promoter Ashok Kheny won from Bidar South as a Karnataka Makkala Paksha candidate. K S Puttanaiah who contested as a Karnataka Sarvodaya Paksha candidate won in Melukote.

K S Eshwarappa, former deputy chief minister and bete noire of Yeddyurappa, was humbled in Shimoga city, thanks to Congress candidate K B Prasanna Kumar.

The BJP leader was pushed to the third position in his home turf. On top of it, the BJP drew a blank in the district, where it was considered to have a strong base.

Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar won from Hubli-Dharwad central for the fifth time by defeating the Congress candidate, but his victory margin was reduced to 17,860 votes from last time’s 26,000. 

Soon after seeing the pathetic performance of his party, Shettar tendered his resignation to the governor.

He will continue in the office along with the council of ministers till a new dispensation takes over. The three coastal districts, which turned out to be in favour of the saffron party in 2008, again favoured the Congress. These districts have 19 seats. In 2008, the BJP won 10 seats and the Congress seven.

This time, the Congress has improved its tally to 13, while the BJP plummeted to three.  The Congress has swept the polls in Yadgir and Chamarajnagar districts, while the JD-S has managed to retain its hold over the old Mysore region. It fell short of its own expectation in North Karnataka.

Who will be main Opposition?

 With the BJP and the JD-S securing an equal number of seats (40 each), now the question is who should be the main opposition in the Assembly. As per the rules of procedure of the Assembly, if two parties have equal number of seats, party securing higher number of votes will become the principal Opposition. In case the vote share is also equal then a lot will have to be drawn to decide the position. This is the first time two parties have secured equal number of seats in the history of Karnataka. The Election Commission is yet to come out with the vote share details

Inside
* Regional parties fail to connect with voters again, Page 6
* BJP goes seatless in Shimoga, Davangere, Page 7
* If Kharge is the chosen one, he wil be first dalit CM, Page 8
* Edit: A mature verdict,

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