Koppal byelection win has many fathers in BJP

Koppal byelection win has many fathers in BJP

Cong, JD(S) say money power helped ruling party emerge victorious

But unlike in the past, the BJP was a worried lot when it went for the Koppal byelection.||

The party has been facing a series of setbacks following the Lokayukta report on illegal mining.

Former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa is facing several cases in the Lokayukta court.

However, he insisted that he should play a pivotal role in campaigning for the party candidate Karadi Sanganna.

Much against his detractors’ wish, Yeddyurappa camped in Koppal and extensively campaigned for Sanganna. The party too could not stop Yeddyurappa from campaigning because Koppal has a sizeable Lingayat voting population. It made sense for the party to allow the former chief minister to campaign for Sanganna, who is also a Lingayat.

Yeddyurappa had gone to the extent of saying that the bypoll was a litmus test for him.

On Thursday, beaming happily he said that despite sustained campaign by the detractors, the party has won. The credit goes to all those who worked in Koppal, he said.

The followers of Yeddyurappa projected the victory as the personal victory of  Yeddyurappa, while State BJP President K S Eshwarappa and others said the credit goes to the entire party. Notwithstanding the varying interpretations, the victory has brought much relief to the BJP, whose image had taken a severe beating.

Sangappa has given credit to Yeddyurappa as well as others for his victory. Of course, he has also proved once again that he is a winning horse in the Koppal constituency. He has also improved his victory margin. Last time too he had contested against Congress’ Basavaraj Hitnal as he did this time.

Sanganna had won here in 1994 (as an independent) and 1999 (on a JD-U ticket) also. However, in 2004, Hitnal had got the better of him. Sanganna had then contested on a BJP ticket. So the bypoll result goes to show that Koppal is no party’s citadel. Sanganna had defeated Hitnal in the 2008 elections, but that time as a JD(S) candidate.

Loss of face

On the other hand, it is a loss of face for KPCC President G Parameshwara and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Siddaramaiah. The latter was even testing the waters in the bypoll for his plan to contest the next Lok Sabha elections from the Koppal seat.

Including Koppal, the BJP has trounced Congress in 18 bypolls in the State over the last three years.

However, Parameshwara claimed that the defeat is not a loss to the party. “It’s okay. After all a by-election. We will take it in our stride. It is not that we lost the deposit,” he said.

“Not less than Rs 45 crore has been spent by the BJP. In addition, official machinery was misused. Sanganna claimed he defected to the BJP because there was no development in his constituency. But after winning the seat, the chief minister said people have voted for development,” Parameshwara pointed out.

On its part, the JD(S) lost the Koppal seat it had won in the last election. State JD(S) President H D Kumaraswamy said the result is not a pointer to the possible outcome of the next Assembly elections.

People have favoured the BJP because it is the ruling party, he said. Both the Congress and the JD(S) attributed BJP’s victory to money power.

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