In what is being seen as a sign of its eroding base in Karnataka in the light of infighting and scandals,the ruling BJP suffered a major electoral setback in a parliamentary constituency that was until recently held by Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda and considered a political fortress of the party.
In an election result that is likely to have its repercussions on the BJP leadership structure in Karnataka,its young candidate V Sunil Kumar,who was strongly backed by the Chief Minister and state party president K S Eshwarappa and the local RSS units,was humbled by veteran politician Jayaprakash Hegde who contested on a Congress ticket in the Udupi-Chikamagalur constituency.
The bypoll was necessitated after Gowda,who was made the Chief Minister in August last year quit the seat.
Hegde,a former minister in the 1994-99 Janata Dal government,had earlier lost the seat by a margin of 27,000 votes. This time he defeated Sunil Kumar by 45,724 votes.
Yeddyurappa and Gowda were summoned to New Delhi Wednesday evening by the BJP high command.
The defeat…is something completely unexpected. I will need a day to introspect…, Gowda said after presenting his maiden Budget for the state. Yeddyurappa,too,said the loss was unexpected.