The BJP suffered a huge loss to the Congress in Hanagal, which falls in Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s home district Haveri, in the bypolls, results of which were declared on Tuesday. The BJP, meanwhile, won the Sindgi seat, with party candidate Ramesh Bhusanur defeating the nearest rival from Congress by a whopping margin of 31,185 votes. Bhusanur secured 93,865 votes, while his closest rival Congress’ Ashok Managuli secured 62,680 votes.
In Hangal, Congress’ Srinivas Mane won by a margin of 7,373 votes, securing 87,490 votes, while his closest rival Shivaraj Sajjanar of BJP bagged 80,117 votes. The big loss in Hanagal has come as a shock to CM Bommai, who is just completing 100 days in office.
JD(S)’ Naziya Shakeel Ahmed Angadi from Sindgi and Niyaz Shaikh from Hangal came a distant third, by securing 4,353 and 927 votes, respectively. The bypolls for two seats was necessitated as they had fallen vacant, following the death of Sindgi JD(S) legislator M C Managuli and BJP’s C M Udasi from Hangal.
Bommai had camped in Hanagal to ensure a BJP victory and was hoping to win by a small margin as the Congress candidate is popular in the area. But, Tuesday’s results have dampened the spirits in the Bommai camp and his rivals in the party are secretly relishing the outcome.
Hanagal is a neighbouring constituency of Bommai’s predecessor and BJP stalwart BS Yediyurappa. After his sudden ouster, Yediyurappa has been sulking quietly and this too seems to have contributed to BJP’s defeat there. For the record, Yediyurappa campaigned, but not aggressively. Another important leader from the region and former chief minister, Jagadish Shettar, was also not active in the constituency during the campaign. Local political analysts said that Lingayat sub caste politics also worked against the BJP candidate.
A total of 19 candidates were in the fray in the two constituencies, including six from Sindgi and 13 from Hangal. Two candidates from Sindgi were women.
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The main opposition, Congress, led by Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah and KPCC president DK Shivakumar campaigned aggressively till the very last day, enthusing the party cadre. The winning candidate of the Congress, Srinivasa Mane’s personal popularity also played a major role in handing out a huge defeat to Bommai on his home turf. Mane who had narrowly lost the 2018 Assembly elections to BJP’s the late CM Udasi did not leave the constituency and did a lot of good work during the lockdown.
The win in Hanagal is expected to boost the morale of Congress workers across the State.
The BJP faction that is opposed to Bommai may demand accountability and Yediyurappa may also find the opportunity to demand his pound of flesh, if the party wants his services in the coming days.
Rude Shock for Congress in Sindgi
BJP’s win in Sindgi in the Bijapur district has come as a rude shock to the Congress that had fielded a JD(S) leader from the constituency. The personal stocks of PWD minister Govinda Karjol, who was BJP election in-charge, can go up after this huge victory.
The JD(S), which had fielded Muslim candidates in both the seats, suffered a humiliating defeat by not securing the security deposit of even one of those candidates. The entire Gowda clan had campaigned there for over two weeks.
The Congress had alleged a “match-fixing” between the BJP and the JD(S) to split the Muslim votes. The results have proved that Muslims tactically voted for the Congress ignoring the JD(S).
(With agency inputs)