BJP deepens its footprint in Mumbai-K’taka

Women workers celebrate the victory of BJP candidate Pralhad Joshi in Dharwad on Thursday. DH Photo/Tajuddin Azad

The Bharatiya Janata Party has deepened its footprint in Mumbai-Karnataka by bagging all seven Lok Sabha seats in the region. The results announced on Thursday have proved that the people in Mumbai-Karnataka continue to support the BJP, being led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In 2014, BJP had won six out of seven seats in the region. The saffron party had won Dharwad, Haveri, Bagalkot, Bijapur, Belgaum and Uttara Kannada Lok Sabha seats while the Congress managed to wrest the Chikkodi seat from Ramesh Katti  All these seats were held by Congress till 1996.

The BJP made a strong foray into the Mumbai-Karnataka area in 1996, thanks to Vajpayee wave. It went on to retain the seats in subsequent elections.

Old warhorses P C Gaddigoudar (Bagalkot), Suresh Angadi (Belgaum), Ramesh Jigajinagi (Bijapur), Pralhad Joshi (Dharwad) and Ananthkumar Hegde (Uttara Kannada) retained their seats while Annasaheb Jolle made sure the saffron party register a clean sweep in the region by wresting Chikkodi from Prakash Hukkeri of Congress.

Disgruntled Congress MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi of Gokak played a major role in ensuring Annasaheb’s victory.

Ramesh Jigajinagi made it six in a row with a facile win against Sunita Devananda Chavan of JD-S. Jigajinagi defeated his nearest rival by a margin of 2,58,038 votes. He made a successful electoral debut from Chikkodi (SC reserved) in 1996 LS polls on Lok Shakti Party. Jigajinagi shifted to Bijapur constituency but his winning run continued unabated.   

Sitting MP from Dharwad, Prahlad Joshi sent Vinay Kulkarni of Congress packing again by a very healthy margin of over 2.01 lakh votes. In 2014, he had won against the same candidate by 1.13 lakh votes.

In Haveri, Shivakumar Udasi scored a hat-trick of wins, defeating D R Patil of Congress.

In previous elections, the Congress had been fielding Muslim candidates, who did not belong to the constituency.

But this time it had chosen former legislator D R Patil, cousin of Gadag MLA H K Patil hoping that the change of candidate would change the result. But it was not to be.

Minister of State for Skill Development in Modi Cabinet, Anantkumar Hegde, who had hogged the limelight by making controversial statements, emerged victorious for the sixth time. Hegde saw off JD-S candidate Anand Asnotikar in a lop-sided contest, by a whopping margin of over 4 lakh votes.

In the coalition understanding, the Uttara Kannada Lok Sabha seat had been given to JD(S) where the party has no base. Karnataka Revenue Minister R V Deshpande, upset with this arrangement, had openly expressed his displeasure and had kept away from campaigning.

In Bagalkot, chairman of the coalition coordination committee and former chief minister Siddaramaiah’s strategy of fielding a woman against the seasoned P C Gaddigoudar of BJP did not work. Siddaramaiah had managed to get the Congress ticket for Veena Kashappanavar, wife of former Hungund MLA Vijayanand Kashappanavar.

Interestingly, Gaddigoudar had refused to contest the elections and had urged the party to field someone else. But the party top brass decided that all the sitting MPs should be fielded and Gaddigoudar had reluctantly accepted the diktat.

For Suresh Angadi in Belagavi, it was a cake walk this time as the Congress had fielded a low-profile candidate Dr Virupakshi Sadhunavar. Suresh Angadi made it four on a trot, winning this election by a big margin of over three lakh votes.

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