BJP and JDS in Karnataka today bagged a seat each in the bitterly fought September 13 bypolls that left the Congress badly mauled.
The ruling BJP wrested Kadur seat from Congress, with its nominee Y C Vishwanath defeating JDS candidate Y S V Dutta by 13,897 votes. Congress was relegated to third place with K M Kemparaju securing 30,330 votes as against BJP’s 55,796 votes and JDS’ 41,899 votes.
In the triangular close contest for Gulbarga South, JDS nominee Aruna Patil Revoor emerged triumphant, with the BJP conceding the seat.
Riding high on the sympathy factor, JDS nominee Ms. Aruna - whose husband Chandrasekhara Patil Revoor’s death caused the byelection - won by 3,538 votes against BJP MLC S Namoshi.
Ms. Aruna secured 39,430 votes, while Namoshi got 35,898 votes.
Ajay Singh of Congress got 35,567.
Ajay Singh, son of former Chief Minister Dharam Singh, failed to make it to the assembly for the second time, despite Gulbarga being his father’s stronghold.
The dismal show by Congress, pushed to third place in both constituencies, comes as a hard blow to the party which was in a euphoric state about a good show after the recent success of its 302 km padayatra against alleged BJP misrule.
The two seats fell vacant following the demise of BJP’s Chandrasekhara Patil Revoor (Gulbarga South) and Congress’ K M Krishnamurthy (Kadur).
Gulbarga South had witnessed aggressive campaigning by Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, Dharam Singh, Union labour minister Mallikarjun Kharge and other top Congress leaders.
The BJP, which was looking to win both seats, sought to downplay the defeat in Gulbarga South by attributing it to the sympathy factor gained by Ms. Aruna.
For JDS, the victory came as a morale booster, given its almost negligible presence in northern Karnataka.
In Kadur, Congress had fielded Kemparaju, brother of late Krishnamurthy but failed to generate sympathy votes. JDS spokesperson Y S Datta was unable to win for the second time.
In an immediate fallout, opposition Congress leader in the Assembly Siddaramaiah submitted his resignation to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, owning moral responsibility.
BJP State unit president K S Eshwarappa expressed satisfaction over the outcome and said it was also against the leadership of Siddaramaiah, Dharam Singh and Kharge.
KPCC president R V Deshpande also sent a letter to Congress high command seeking that he be “relieved” of his responsibilities as the State party chief in the wake of the party’s rout in the bypoll.
“In spite of best efforts, we lost both the seats in the by-elections. I take the moral responsibility for the loss. I may be relieved at the earliest,” Mr. Deshapande wrote to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Union Health Minister Gulam Nabi Azad, who is in-charge of Karnataka.
In the light of the organisational election process having been set in motion, Deshpande chose not to resign and sought that he be relieved from the post, party sources said.
Yesterday the State unit of Congress passed a resolution authorising Sonia Gandhi to appoint KPCC office bearers.
JDS State unit president H D Kumaraswamy termed the poll verdict as a mixed bag of luck for his party.