Congress victory marks the electorate’s rejection of a direct contest with the Opposition parties led by JD(S)

The victory of the Congress party and in particular that of its candidates Ramya and D.K. Suresh, relatively political greenhorns, in the byelections to two seats of the Lok Sabha is a stellar performance by the ruling party against an Opposition combine comprising the Janata Dal (Secular), the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Karnataka Janata Party.

Notably, the result is a pointer to the next round of elections to the Lok Sabha expected in 2014 given the view that the byelections were regarded as a forerunner. The Congress is on a winning streak having won 122 seats in the legislative Assembly elections, and has now followed it up with victories in the byelections held for the Mandya and the Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha seats, hitherto held by the Janata Dal (Secular). It is a good turnaround for the Congress, which over the past decade had largely been relegated to the background, and is an exhibition of what unity could deliver to the party.

For the 29-year-old film actress, Ms. Ramya, and for Mr. Suresh who had all along been in the shadow of his brother and the former Minister, D.K. Shivakumar, the victory will enable them launch a political career having been catapulted directly into Parliament at a young age.

Mr. Shivakumar worked tirelessly for the victory of his younger sibling and quietly fostered electoral understandings with friends in rival political parties. The term of the winners may be relatively short but they have indeed booked their party ticket for the next round of general elections.

Of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka, the tally of the Congress has shot up to eight while that of the Janata Dal (Secular) has dropped to one from the three which it had won in 2009 elections. The strength of the Bharatiya Janata Party is 19. The byelections to Mandya and Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha seats were necessitated because of the resignation of H.D. Kumaraswamy (Bangalore Rural) and N. Cheluvarayaswamy (Mandya) after they won the elections to the Karnataka Legislative Assembly.

The Congress victory also marks the rejection by the electorate of a direct contest in electoral politics with the Opposition parties led by the Janata Dal (Secular). The latest round of tie-up between the JD (S) and the BJP is now expected to lead to debates with those pursuing secular politics set to comment that the minorities have shifted out of the JD (S) resulting in the electoral loss suffered by the party candidate, Anitha Kumaraswamy.

In the run-up to the elections, it was widely believed that an Opposition combine could prove to be formidable against the ruling party, more so, since the seats were held by the JD (S). With the two Congress candidates winning by a big margin, the electorate have exhibited their support to the ruling party. The Congress leaders campaigned unitedly in the face of the big challenge and the results have exhibited on how a unity among the leaders could achieve a set objective and in the bargain the new-found bonhomie among the Opposition parties has also received a setback.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has emerged stronger given the fact that the party high command is reported to have categorically conveyed to him that a victory for the two party candidates is a must. Having ensured the victory of Mr. Suresh, the former Minister Mr. Shivakumar has emerged stronger and will obviously stake claim for ministership in the Siddaramaiah government. He has been kept out of the government on the ground that he is facing criminal charges.

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