The Congress on Wednesday wrested Jayanagar assembly seat in Bengaluru from the BJP by a narrow margin of 2,887 votes — the party’s second straight win since it formed a coalition government with the JD(S) on May 23 after the assembly elections delivered a hung House, with the BJP emerging as the single largest party with 104 MLAs.
Earlier, it had retained the R R Nagar seat, polling for which was deferred following allegations of large-scale electoral malpractices.
In Jayanagar seat, elections to which was postponed after two-term BJP MLA B N Vijayakumar died of a heart attack on the eve of the May 12 elections, the Congress fielded Sowmya Reddy — daughter of local strong man and former home minister Ramalinga Reddy, who has represented the assembly seat four times.
The BJP fielded B N Prahlad, Vijayakumar’s brother, hoping to ride on sympathy votes, while the JD(S) did not field any candidate.
Reddy garnered 54,458 votes, while Prahlad got 51,571 votes.
The Congress candidate obtained 48.8 per cent of the votes polled in the election and the BJP bagged 46 per cent.
Considered to be a conservative region with a large number of middle class voters, Jayanagar constituency was represented in 2008 and 2013 by Vijayakumar, who had earned the reputation of being an earnest and accessible politician.
The constituency was previously represented by senior Congress leader Ramalinga Reddy, who had moved to the neighbouring BTM Layout constituency in 2008.
“With this impactful win, we have now conquered 15 out of 28 assembly seats in Bengaluru,” said deputy chief minister and state Congress president G Parameshwara.
The victory in Jayanagar seat takes the Congress tally in the now 223-member Karnataka assembly to 79, while the JD(S) is at 37. One seat in the 224-member House remains vacant after the death of Congress MLA Siddu Nyamagouda in a car crash soon after the elections.