Updated: April 13, 2017 1:47:47 pm
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah received a major boost in the run up to the 2018 state polls with the Congress party winning two assembly seats in Siddaramaiah’s home territory in bypolls held on April 9. Candidates fielded by the Congress beat back a strong challenge mounted by the BJP in the Nanjangud and Gundlupet constituencies in south Karnataka to retain the two seats. Former Congress minister and Dalit leader V Srinivas Prasad who quit the party and joined the BJP after being dropped from the Siddaramaiah cabinet lost by over 20,000 votes in Nanjangud.
Prasad registered a total vote tally of 64,878 votes while the Congress candidate Kalale Keshav Murthy bagged 86,212 votes in the seat reserved for scheduled caste communities. In the Gundlupet constituency where the bypolls were necessitated by the death of Congress minister and five time MLA Mahadev Prasad the widow of the former minister, Geetha Mahadev Prasad won by over 11,000 votes. She got 90,258 votes against the BJP candidate Niranjan Kumar who got 79,381 votes.
The victory is seen as a big boost for the populist policies of Congress Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Congress efforts to project itself as a pro-Dalit, backward class and minorities party in the run up to the 2018 state polls.
The BJP, which has never won the two seats in the Mysore region of south Karnataka, made a strong push to win the two seats under the leadership of former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa. The BJP drafted former Congress leader S M Krishna to campaign in the polls and also attempted to erase memories of a clash between Dalits and the dominant Lingayat community that occurred in Nanjangud in 1993.
Best of Express Premium
“We never expected to lose both seats,”BJP state President and Lingayat community leader B S Yeddyurappa said. The former Congress minister Srinivas Prasad alleged that chief minister Siddaramaiah had spent Rs 100 crores to defeat him in Nanjangud.
🗞 Subscribe Now: Get Express Premium to access our in-depth reporting, explainers and opinions 🗞️
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.