Cong retains Nanjangud, Gundlupet in bypolls

Cong retains Nanjangud, Gundlupet in bypolls

Party vote share goes up in both constituencies

Cong retains Nanjangud, Gundlupet in bypolls

The Congress on Thursday retained the Nanjangud and Gundlupet Assembly constituencies in the fiercely fought bypolls which is expected to give a new momentum to the party to prepare for the 2018 Assembly elections.

The Congress’ Kalale Keshavamurthy defeated his BJP rival V Srinivas Prasad in Nanjangud (reserved for Scheduled Castes) by 21,334 votes, while M C Mohan Kumari (also known as Geetha) emerged victorious in Gundlupet by defeating C S Niranjan Kumar of the BJP by 10,877 votes.

The Congress secured 86,212 votes in Nanjangud and 90,260 votes in Gundlupet. The Congress’s vote share has increased in both the constituencies when compared with the 2013 Assembly elections. Both seats have sizeable voters belonging to the Lingayat community, followed by the Scheduled Castes.

The BJP suffered a severe setback as the Congress succeeded in thwarting the saffron party’s concerted effort to establish its base in the rural areas of undivided Mysuru district.

It was a prestige contest for state BJP president B S Yeddyurappa who has been projected as the chief ministerial candidate for the 2018 polls.

Faced with defeat, Prasad announced he would quit electoral politics. He had invoked Dalit pride to take on the Congress led by his political bete noire, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, in Nanjangud. Prasad resigned as Congress MLA after he was dropped from the Cabinet last year.

In contrast, a jubilant Siddaramaiah in Bengaluru said he will contest the next Assembly elections and lead his party to victory. He has often indicated that he wants to keep away from electoral politics.

In Gundlupet, Mohan Kumari registered a comfortable win owing to the sympathy factor. She is the widow of the late H S Mahadeva Prasad, who was the cooperation minister in the Siddaramaiah Cabinet.

Interestingly, she managed to secure more votes than what her husband had got in the 2013 Assembly elections. Niranjan Kumar had fought in Gundlupet in 2013 on a KJP ticket.