Bengaluru, (Aryavarth) The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made a clean sweep of the two Assembly and four Council by-elections in Karnataka by winning all the six seats, thus increasing its tally in the state legislature.
BJP’s N. Munirathna retained the high-profile Rajarajeshwari Nagar (RR Nagar) Assembly seat in Bengaluru, from which he resigned in July 2019 as a Congress rebel and defected to the ruling party to re-contest on November 3.
A two-term legislator, Munirathna defeated debutant H. Kusuma of opposition Congress and Krishnamurthy of Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) in a triangular contest.
BJP’s C.M. Rajesh Gowda won from the prestigious Sira Assembly segment in Tumakuru district and wrested it from the JD-S, defeating its candidate Ammajamma and T.B. Jayachandra of the Congress in a triangular contest.
The Sira by-election was caused due to the death of JD-S legislator B. Satyanarayana in Bengaluru on August 4 after prolonged illness. Ammajamma is his widow.
By wresting the twin seats from the Congress and the JD-S, the BJP’s tally in the 225-member Assembly increased to 118, while Congress’ strength declined to 66 and JD-S to 32.
In July 2019, 12 Congress rebels and 3 JD-S rebels resigned from their Assembly segments, which led to the collapse of the 14-month JD-S-Congress coalition government on July 23, 2019 and the return of BJP on July 26, with B.S. Yediyurappa as Chief Minister for the fourth time.
In the four Council biennial elections held on October 28, BJP retained one seat and wrested two from JD-S and one from Congress.
The biennial elections were held in two Graduates and two Teachers segments in the state’s northwest, northern region and Bengaluru.
“Chidanand Gowda of the BJP won the South East Graduates segment, securing 12,548 votes,” an Election Commission official told IANS after vote count, which began on Tuesday and ended on Wednesday.
Gowda defeated Independent D.T. Srinivas, who secured 10,580 votes, and R. Chowda Reddy of JD-S, who re-contested after his six-year-term ended, polled 7,088 votes.
Former JD-S Council member Ramesh Babu, who defected and contested on a Congress ticket, was among the 15 candidates who were in the fray and lost.
On Tuesday, BJP’s S.V. Sankur won from West Graduates with 13,293 votes, defeating R.M. Kuberappa of Congress with 6,111 votes and Basavaraj Terdal, an Independent, with 3,540 votes.
BJP’s Puttanna won the Bangalore Teachers seat with 7,335 votes, defeating A.P. Ranganatha of JD-S with 5,107 votes and R. Praveen Kumar of Congress with 782 votes.
Puttanna, who defected from the JD-S, has retained the seat.
In North-East Teachers constituency, BJP’s Shashil Namoshi won with 9,418 votes, wresting the seat from Sharanappa Mattur of Congress who polled 6,213 votes, while Timmayya Purle of JD-S secured 3,812 votes.
Namoshi had won the seat twice earlier, while Mattur re-contested after his term ended in June but lost.
Reddy has re-contested after his term ended in June.
Votes of Bangalore Teachers and North East Teachers seats were counted in Bengaluru, while that of West Graduates at Dharwad in the state’s northwest region and of South-East Graduates at Gulbarga in the state’s northern region.
Voting in the biennial elections to the four seats was held to fill vacancies caused after the term of the incumbent lawmaker ended in June.
The by-elections, however, could not be held in July due to the Covid pandemic gripping the state since mid-March.
Of the 75 seats in the Council, 25 are elected from the Assembly, 25 from local bodies across the state, seven each from Graduates and Teachers constituencies and 11 are nominated by the Governor on the recommendation of the Chief Minister or the state cabinet.
In the 75-member Council, the BJP has 31 seats, Congress 28, JD-S 14, 1 Independent and 1 Chairman.