Karnataka’s ruling Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress coalition won two assembly seats and two Lok Sabha seats in by-election results Tuesday, cheering the Opposition ahead of Diwali as it prepares to fight Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in five state elections this year and Lok Sabha polls in 2018.
The alliance won parliamentary seats in Ballari and Mandya and assembly seats in Jamkhandi and Ramanagara. The BJP won the Shivamogga Lok Sabha constituency—its only victory in by-elections held Saturday.
The BJP lost Ballari, a Lok Sabha seat it held since 2004 and which is the stronghold of controversial mining barons, the Reddy brothers. Congress leader V S Ugrappa led by more than 2.14 lakh votes against BJP candidate J Shantha, the sister of B Sriramulu, a key aide of the Reddy brothers and a former MP from Ballari.
The BJP won in Shivamogga parliamentary seat, the pocket borough of party veteran and Leader of the Opposition B S Yeddyurappa. His son B Y Raghavendra has established a lead of more than 51,000 votes against JD (S) candidate) Madhu Bangarappa.
In Mandya Lok Sabha constituency, JD(S) candidate L Shivarame Gowda led by 3.24 lakh votes over BJP candidate Siddaramaiah.
JD (S) leader Anitha Kumaraswamy, the wife of chief minister H D Kumaraswamy, won the Ramanagara assembly by 1,09,137 votes against her nearest rival, L Chandrashekar, who had pulled out of the contest but was listed as a BJP candidate in the ballot.
The Ramanagara seat fell vacant after Kumaraswamy retained Chennapatna, the second constituency he won in Karnataka assembly elections in May 2108.
In Jamkhandi assembly seat, Congress candidate Anand Nyamgouda defeated BJP's Srikant Kulkarni by a margin of 39,480 votes.
With Tuesday's results, the Congress-JD(S) alliance's tally will have 120 seats in the-224-member assembly. The BJP has 104 MLAs, reported news agency PTI.
Karnataka is the only south state where the BJP has been in power. After state elections earlier this year, the party formed a minority government but lost a trust vote in the assembly. The by-election results will bolster the JD (S) and Congress government, which has been plagued by in-fighting
"The 4-1 win in the Karnataka bye-elections is similar to the Test series of Indian cricket team led by Virat Kohli. Lesson to be learnt: Alliance has turned out to be beneficial," said Congress leader P Chidambaram in a tweet.
“Look at the margins--it's clear that people are fed up with the BJP. This anti-people, anti-farmer, anti-women government at the Centre must go,” Karnataka Congress president Dinesh Gundu Rao was quoted by PTI as saying.
Five states--Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Telangana—will hold elections between November 12 and December 7 this year.
(With inputs from PTI)