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Cong-JD(S) blow to BJP in Karnataka bypolls, saffron party set

Press Trust of India  |  Bengaluru 

In an emphatic endorsement of Karnataka's ruling JD(S)-coalition by the voters, its candidates Tuesday won both the assemblyconstituencies and are set to clinch two of the three seats in the bitterly fought by-polls held on Saturday, officials said.

The byelections came as a major setback for the main opposition ahead of the 2019 elections with the party set to lose the Ballari seat, considered a stronghold of the controversial mining barons--the Reddy brothers.

V S Ugrappa of the has established a lead of more than 2.14 lakh votes in Ballari over BJP's J Shantha, the sister of B Sriramulu, a key of the Reddys and former from there.

The is leading only in Shivamogga parliamentary seat, the pocket borough of the of the Opposition B S Yeyyurappa. His son B Y Raghavendra has established a lead of more than 51,000 votes over Madhu Bangarappa of the JD(S). Madhu is the son of former the late S Bangarappa.

Counting was in the final stages for the seats, officials said.

H D Kumaraswamy's wife Anitha bagged the Ramanagara assembly seat by a spectacular margin of 1,09,137 against her nearest rival BJP's L Chandrashekar, who had pulled out of the contest, but still officially remains the party candidate.

Chandrashekhar, who had joined the ahead of the polls returned to Congress weeks later, leaving the saffron party red-faced and the field open for a walkover for Anitha Kumaraswamy.

Ramanagara seat fell vacant after Kumaraswamy preferred to retain Chennapatna, the other constituency from where he had won.

In Jamkhandi, Congress candidate defeated BJP's by a margin of 39,480 votes, riding a sympathy wave following his father and sitting MLA Siddu Nyamagouda's death in a road accident.

With Tuesday's victory, the Congress-JD(S) alliance's tally will go up to 120 seatsin the 224 member assembly where the BJP has 104 MLAs.

In Mandya Lok Sabha constituency, JD(S) candidate L Shivarame Gowda has established a lead of a staggering 3.24 lakh votes over BJP candidate Siddaramaiah, a political green horn and a former civil servant.

Mandya is a stronghold of the Vokkaliga community to which JD(S) supremo and former H D Deve Gowda belongs.

Elated over the performance of the ruling alliance candidates, jubilant Congress workers distributed sweets and broke coconuts at various places.

Congress claimed the results reflected the disenchantment of people with the BJP.

"Look at the's clear that people are fed up with the BJP. This anti-people, anti-farmer, anti-women government at the Centre must go.

"All forces need to come together to take on the BJP. BJP will be wiped out of in 2019 (Lok Sabha polls). If it is wiped out in Karnataka, it will be wiped out in the entire south India," he said.

is the only south Indian state where the BJP has been in power.

The by-elections for three Lok Sabha seats were necessitated after Yeddyurappa and Sriramulu of the BJP and C S Puttaraju of the JD(S) vacated Shivamogga, Ballari and Mandya following their election to the assembly in May.

Bypolls to Jamkhandi seat was necessitated following the death of sitting Congress MLA Siddu Nyamagouda, while Ramanagara fellvacant after Kumaraswamy gave it up.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, November 06 2018. 13:40 IST