BJP Sweeps By-Elections To 15 Assembly Constituencies In Karnataka By Winning 12 Of Them

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New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swept by-elections to 15 assembly constituencies in Karnataka, leading in or winning 12 of them (as of 3pm). This means the BJP government in the state is safe — the party needed to win 6 of the 15 to stay in power. This also means the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) have clearly lost ground in the state. All 15 constituencies were won by the two parties in 2018, with the Congress winning 12 and the JD(S) bagging three seats.

The BJP’s sweep also clarifies that there was no ill-feeling in any of the constituencies against the defectors. As many of 13 of the BJP’s winners this time are candidates who represented either the Congress or the JD(S) in 2018. Only two defectors, MTB Nagaraj from the Congress in Hosakote and A H Vishwanath from the JD(S) in Hunasuru have lost. Clearly, reports that many of the defectors had to campaign under police protection because of an angry voter-base were exaggerated.

The BJP, with 117 seats in the house (it also has the support of an independent legislators), now has a clear majority in the assembly, which, at the moment, has 222 members. In two seats, there is a High Court stay on polls due to alleged code of conduct violations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, at a rally in Jharkhand, that there are three key messages from the by-election outcome. “The first is that people of this country want a stable government. The second is that people not only taught a lesson but wiped out Congress and its allies, which betrayed the people’s mandate and insulted them by seeking power through the backdoor, at the first available opportunity.” The third message was that people only and only had faith in the BJP to provide a stable government, committed to development.

The Congress conceded defeat, with its former CM, Siddaramiah, resigning as the party’s legislative leader. DK Shivakumar, senior party leader said, “We have to agree with the mandate of the voters of these 15 constituencies. People have accepted the defectors. We have accepted defeat, I don’t think we have to be disheartened,”

For the BJP, the outcome comes as a source of relief because of recent setbacks. It scraped through in Haryana in October, with the help of Dushyant Chautala’s Jannanyak Janata Party, and it lost Maharashtra after the Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, and the Shiv Sena came together. A loss in Karnataka would have been embarrassing for the party, and further dented the aura of invincibility it has created with a spate of electoral wins.

 

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