Assembly bypolls: Siddaramaiah suffers blow, BJP wins 2 seats, Cong 1

Assembly bypolls: Siddaramaiah suffers blow, BJP wins 2 seats, Cong 1
 In a setback to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, ruling Congress in Karnataka today won one seat and its rival BJP two in the fiercely-fought February 12 assembly bypolls.

In the direct fight, BJP retained Hebbal in Bengaluru and wrested Devadurga in Raichur district from Congress which snatched Bidar in north Karnataka from its arch rival.

Of the three seats that went to by-polls due to the death of sitting members, BJP had held two and Congress one. The outcome has come as a blow to Siddaramaiah considering the prestige invested in the contest to wrest the seats from BJP.

Bogged down by infighting, former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda-led JD(S) lost deposit in all the constituencies.

BJP candidate Y A Narayana Swamy defeated his nearest Congress opponent C K Abdul Rahman Sharief, grandson of former Railway Minister C K Jaffar Sharief, by a margin of 19,149 votes in Hebbal.

Sharief was given the ticket at the last minute against the wishes of Siddaramaiah who had plumped for his favourite Byrathi Suresh, an MLC, as the candidate.

In Bidar, Congress' Rahim Khan triumphed by a margin of 22,721 votes, defeating his closest opponent Prakash Khandre of BJP.

K Shivana Gouda Nayak of BJP defeated A Rajashekhra Nayak of Congress by a margin of 16,871 votes in Devadurga.

Speaking to reporters in Mysuru, Siddaramaiah said he will "bow" to the verdict of the people but said that the verdict would have no bearing on his government.

Home Minister and also state Congress Chief G Parameshwara said the party will introspect about its loss in two seats.

"We aimed to win all the three but expected at least two but the outcome is not that way. We will introspect and find reasons about loss in two seats," he said.

BJP leader Prahlad Joshi said it was a vote against the "arrogant conduct" of Siddaramaiah while another party leader and former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar claimed it was an indicator of the future political direction in the state.

Amid by-election results, all the three parties are also pinning hopes on Zilla and Taluk Panchayat elections outcome for which the first phase of polls in 15 districts were held on Friday.

The second phase of polling for the rest 15 districts will be held on February 20.
The results will be out on February 23.

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