The BJP may have succeeded in retaining its bastion, the Shikaripur Assembly constituency, but its margin of victory was just 6,430 votes: its second lowest in this seat in the last nine polls.
B Y Raghavendra, son of former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, secured 71, 547 votes, defeating H S Shantaveerappa Gouda of the Congress who managed 65,117 votes. As many as 560 voters went for the NOTA (None Of The Above) option. Of the total 1,77,418 voters, 1,38,849 exercised their franchise.
The lowest victory margin for the BJP was when Yeddyurappa defeated the Independent candidate Nagarada Mahadevappa (now with the Congress) by 2,274 votes in 1989. Yeddyurappa, now Shimoga MP and the BJP’s national vice president, represented Shikaripur in the Assembly seven times since 1983. He won the seat six times on the BJP ticket and once on the KJP platform in 2013.
Raghavendra has inherited his father’s political legacy. It’s a mere change of power from father to son. The wave of change, which Congress leaders hoped would impact voters’ choice, was not strong enough to break the Yeddyurappa family’s hold.
But the thin margin of victory has clearly demonstrated that Raghavendra does not enjoy as much clout as his father did. Yeddyurappa had won the previous election, in 2013, by 24,424 votes. Yeddyurappa had obtained 69,126 votes, Gouda of the Congress 44,702 votes and H T Baligar of the JD(S) 15,004 votes.
Morale booster for Cong
For the Congress, the result has come has a huge morale booster. The party put up a brave fight in Yeddyurappa’s home turf and almost broke his hold. Since 1983, the only time the Congress won the seat was in 1999 when its candidate Mahalingappa defeated Yeddyurappa by 7,561 votes.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, KPCC president G Parameshwara and other senior leaders canvassed tirelessly to ensure a repeat of the 1999 results but their efforts fell short. But the party is content as it greatly reduced the margin of the BJP’s victory.
In the 2008 Assembly elections, Yeddyurappa had defeated the then Samajwadi Party candidate S Bangarappa by 45,927 votes. Both the Congress and the JD(S) had indirectly backed Bangarappa as they did not field their candidates.
The by-election result indicates that the JD(S) decision not to contest the election helped the Congress get more votes than it did last year. But that too proved inadequate to wrest the seat from the BJP.