The Congress-Janata Dal(S) alliance has won two of the three Lok Sabha and both the Assembly by-elections in Karnataka, leaving the BJP with a consolation prize of just one in what is billed as a dress rehearsal for the 2019 :Lok Sabha polls.
The alliance has won Bellari and Mandya Lok Sabha and both the Jamkhanda and Ramanagara Assembly seats, leaving BJP only with the Shivamogga Lok Sabha seat.
Congress candidate A S Nyamgouda has won the Jamkhanda Assembly seat while Ramanagara has been retained for the JD(S) by Anita Kumaraswamy, wife of Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy. Congress has won by a margin of 39,000 seats, while Anita Kumaraswamy has won by 10,000 votes.
Congress’ VS Ugruppa and JD(S)’s LR Shivaramegowda won Ballari and Mandya Lok Sabha seats respectively with a margin of over two lakh votes and over three lakh votes.
Bharatiya Janata Party’s B Y Raghavendra has won the Shimoga Lok Sabha seat by just 52,000 votes.. Raghavendra is son of former Chief Minister Y S Yeddiyurappa.
The result is seen as a seen a mandate for the Congress-JD (S) alliance which was forged after the last Assembly elections in April and which stopped the BJP from grabbing power despite emerging as the single largest party with a tally of 104 seats in the 224- seat Assembly.
The BJP’s victory in Shivamogga is attributable to Yeddiyurappa’s personal popularity.
In wresting the Bellari from the BJP, the Congress has dealt a mortal blow to the infamous Reddy brothers, the miner barons who along with Yeddiyurappa were involved in a major mining scandal which led to the exit of the latter in 2010 as Chief Minister.
The Congress win in Bellary is attributable to party strongman and multi-millionaire D K Shivakumar who guarded the MLAs from poaching after the April polls and thereby enabled the Congress-JD(S) alliance to form Government last April..
Encouraged by the bypoll results, the Congress-JD(S) alliance is expected to continue for the next Lok Sabha elections as part of Congress and other opposition parties’ starategy to form a grand national alliance to take on the ruling BJP Government of PrimeMinister Narendra Modi.
Reflecting this sentiment, Chief Minister Kumaraswamy has said the alliance will win all the Lok Sabha seats in the next Lok Sabha polls.
In 2014, the BJP had won 17 of Karnataka's 28 parliamentary seats. The Congress won nine and HD Kumaraswamy's Janata Dal Secular two seats.