The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was trailing in its bastion Bellary in the Lok Sabha bypolls, the counting for which began on Tuesday.
Of the three Lok Sabha seats for which bypolls were held, two were in saffron control and one, Mandya, was held by Janata Dal (Secular). Bypolls were also held for two assembly segments – Jamkhandi and Ramanagara.
Congress candidate VS Ugrappa was leading by 1,84,203 votes in Bellary, a district located in North Karnataka. As the counting progressed, Congress workers were seen celebrating the counting station in Bellary.
The reserved seat was earlier represented by B Sriramulu who resigned on 18 May 2018 for the Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018. Sriramulu is a BJP strongman considered close to the Bellary brothers – Karunakar Reddy, G Somashekhara Reddy and Gali Janardhan Reddy. He contested in the assembly elections from Molakalmuru and Badami, winning the former but losing the latter to Congress leader and former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.
The Congress and the JD(S), who are allies in the Karnataka government, were contesting the elections to all the five seats jointly. While the Congress fielded candidates in Bellary and Jamkhandi, the JD(S) took the other three.
To take on the Congress in Bellary, BJP fielded J Shantha, the sister of Sriramulu. The Bellary Lok Sabha seat has been a BJP stronghold since 2004. Shantha had held the seat in 2009 before Sriramulu won it in the 2014 General Elections. The seat, which had historically voted for the Congress, was won by G Karunakara Reddy in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.
On the other hand, the BJP appears to be all set to keep Shimoga, the parliamentary seat of former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa before he resigned. Yeddyurappa’s son, BY Raghavendra, was leading by 47,388 votes from this seat. Trailing was JD(S) nominee Madhubangarappa.
In the third seat for which bypolls were held, JD(S) nominee LR Shivaramegowda was leading by 2,33,517 votes against BJP’s Dr Siddaramaiah. Located in South Karnataka, Mandya was previously represented in Parliament by JD(S)’s CS Puttaraju, who is now an MLA from Melkote and a minister in the Karnataka government.
In the two assembly seats, Congress’ AS Nyamagouda won the Jamkhandi assembly seat by a margin of 39,480 votes while JD(S)’s Anitha Kumaraswamy was leading in Ramanagaram by 1,05,294 votes. Anitha Kumaraswamy is the wife of Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and Ramanagaram is a stronghold of the JD(S). The seat was vacated by Kumaraswamy who had won it in the 2018 assembly elections along with Chhanapatna – a seat he retained.