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BJP sweeps Karnataka bypolls, BS Yediyurappa govt retains majority; state Congress leaders Siddaramaiah, Dinesh Gundu Rao resign from posts

BJP leader and Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa is set to retain power in Karnataka as the BJP bags 12 seats to maintain the majority in the state government

The Congress, which won 12 of those 15 seats in the 2018 Assembly polls, won in only two segments: Hunsur and Shivajinagar
The Devegowda lead Janatadal (Secular) lost all seats

The ruling BJP on Monday 9th December 2019 retained the majority in the Karnataka Assembly when it bagged twelve seats in the by-elections while the Congress suffered a major setback with its win in only two seats. The BJP’s good show in 12 seats comes as a morale booster for the saffron party after its setback in Maharashtra.

Speaking to ANI, Karnataka chief minister BS Yeddyurappa said that now without any problem, the BJP can give a “pro-people and a stable government”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing a poll meeting in Jharkhand, hailed the BJP’s performance and accused the Congress of stealing the people’s mandate in Karnataka through back door, contending it has been taught a lesson in the just-concluded bypolls.

“There are three messages for Jharkhand and other states in the bypoll outcome. The first is that people want a stable government. Second, people feel insulted by subversion of their mandate and teach those guilty a lesson. Third, they trust only BJP can give a government that can deliver,” he said.
“Public anger over betrayal of mandate exploded today. It is a victory of public mandate…a victory for democracy,” he said.

The Congress, which won 12 of those 15 seats in the 2018 Assembly polls, won only in two segments: Hunsur and Shivajinagar. Former prime minister HD Deve Gowda-led JD(S) that
had won three seats in the previous election — KR Pete, Mahalakshmi Layout and Hunsur — drew a blank.
Independent candidate Sharath Bachegowda, who was earlier expelled from BJP for anti-party activities after he contested the bypoll as a rebel, registered a win in Hoskote.

Turncoats had a field day as 11 of the 13 in the fray after joining the BJP emerged victorious, as the ruling party’s gamble to field the defectors from the Congress and the JD(S) who helped them come to power paid off.

The 12 BJP candidates who won are: Arabail Shivaram Hebbar (Yellapura), Narayana Gowda (K R Pete), BC Patil (Hirekerur), Shrimant Patil (Kagwad), Mahesh Kumthalli (Athani), K Sudhakar (Chikkaballapura), K Gopalaiah (Mahalakshmi Layout), Anand Singh (Vijayanagara), Ramesh Jarkiholi (Gokak), Arun Kumar Guttur (Ranebennur), ST Somashekar (Yeshwanthpura) and Byrathi Basavaraj (KR Puram).
The Congress candidates who have won are Rizwan Arshad (Shivajinagar) and HP Manjunath (Hunasureu).

The BJP sweep had an immediate fallout in the Opposition Congress with its legislature party leader and former chief minister Siddaramaiah and state congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao quitting their posts. Citing “unsatisfactory results”, the two leaders tendered their resignations to Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and took moral responsibility for the party’s drubbing.

The bypolls were held on 5 December to fill the vacancies caused by the disqualification of 17 rebel Congress and JD(S) MLAs, whose revolt led to the collapse of the 14-month-old HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition government in July and paved the way for BJP to come to power.

The BJP needed to win at least six of the 15 seats to remain in a majority in the 225-member Assembly (including the Speaker, who has a casting vote), which would still have two vacant seats: Maski and RR Nagar. In the Assembly with the current strength of 208 after the disqualifications, the BJP has 105 MLAs (including an Independent), the Congress 66 and the
JD(S) has 34 MLAs.

There is also one BSP member, a nominated member and the Speaker. If BJP wins in the other six constituencies it is leading in, the party’s numbers will go up from 105 to 117, which is well ahead of the halfway mark of 111 in a 223-member Assembly (two seats are vacant due to pending litigation in the high court).

Yediyurappa had won the confidence motion on 29 July after the effective strength of the 225-member Assembly came down to 208 and the majority mark to 105, equivalent of BJP’s current strength, following the disqualifications.

Yediyurappa is likely to go in for a cabinet expansion soon, which promises to be an uphill task, as he will have to strike a balance by accommodating the victorious disqualified legislators in his ministry, as promised by him, and also make place for old guards, who have been upset over being “neglected” in the first round.

Including the chief minister, currently there are 18 ministers in the cabinet, whose sanctioned strength is 34.