Cong gets Chikodi, Bellary Rural; BJP retains Shikaripur

Cong gets Chikodi, Bellary Rural; BJP retains Shikaripur

The ruling Congress in Karnataka has won two of the three Assembly seats, byelections for which were held on August 21. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the third seat. Byelection results were announced on Monday.    

Ganesh Hukkeri of the Congress retained the Chikodi-Sadalaga seat in Belgaum district, while the party’s N Y Gopalakrishna wrested the Bellary Rural seat from the BJP. 

The Congress, with the backing of the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), in Shimoga district’s Shikaripur cut into the votes of the BJP, but was unable to prevail over former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa’s son B Y Raghavendra.    

A jubilant Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the results showed that the Modi phenomenon was temporary. 

He said that the people had endorsed the programmes of the Congress government in the State. State BJP leaders, who were upbeat after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, went into introspection. 

The Congress had special reason to celebrate its victory in Bellary Rural (reserved for Scheduled Tribe) as this is the first time it has won there since the carving of the constituency in 2007. 

In the 2008 Assembly elections, B Sriramulu won the seat as a BJP candidate. In 2011, after quitting the BJP, he had contested as an Independent and retained the seat. In 2013, as the founder of Badava Shramika Raitha Congress, he contested and retained the seat. 

The seat fell vacant with Sriramulu winning the Lok Sabha election as a BJP candidate in 2014.  He now fielded his associate Obalesh, a former government employee, in vain. 
The Congress nominated N Y Gopalakrishna, former Molkalmur MLA, against Obalesh. Gopalakrishna, from Bellary, is the younger brother of Justice N Y Hanumanthappa, who had unsuccessfully contested against Sriramulu in the past. 

State Energy Minister D K Shivakumar was in charge of the constituency.  Local JD-S leader Suryanarayan Reddy joined the Congress during the campaign. This boosted the prospects for the faction-ridden Congress in Bellary, with Gopalakrishna winning by 33,104 votes. 

In Shikaripura, Yeddyurappa’s personal bastion, the Congress cut into the BJP’s vote bank. In the 2013 Assembly elections, Yeddyurappa’s victory margin was 24,425 votes. This time around, the BJP’s winning margin came down to 6,430 votes.  Yeddyurappa, not so happy with the performance, said the party should gear up for future elections. 

In Chikkodi-Sadalaga, Ganesh Hukkeri,  son of former minister and Congress MP Prakash Hukkeri, trounced the BJP candidate albeit by a reduced margin of 31,820 votes. The senior Hukkeri’s victory margin in 2013 was 76,588 votes. He had reluctantly quit as a legislator to contest the Lok Sabha election. 

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