The results of the by-election for the five Assembly seats in Karnataka presented a mixed bag with the ruling BJP and the Opposition Janata Dal (Secular) winning two seats each and the Congress one seat.
However, the defeat of Minister for Muzrai and Housing V. Somanna from the high-profile Govindarajanagara constituency in Bangalore city is a political setback for the ruling party.
In Govindarajanagara, 25-year-old Priya Krishna of the Congress, a new comer to politics, defeated four-time MLA Mr. Somanna of the BJP by 5,239 votes. The seat was held by Mr. Somanna who resigned from the Congress and the membership of the Assembly when he joined the BJP just before the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year.
In Channapatana and Ramanagara, the JD(S) candidates M.C. Ashwath and K. Raju defeated C.P. Yogeshwar of the BJP and C.M. Lingappa of the Congress by 2,282 and 22,019 votes respectively.
The Channapatna seat was vacated by Mr. Yogeshwar when he quit the Congress to join the BJP prior to the Lok Sabha elections. The Ramanagara seat was vacated by H.D. Kumaraswamy when he was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha constituency.
For the BJP, the defeats in Govindarajanagara and Channapatana represent a loss of face as the party concentrated its resources here in a high-profile campaign that saw senior Ministers and party leaders touring the constituencies. However, the party won Kollegal and Chitapur seats which were previously held by the Congress.
In Kollegal, G.N. Nanjundaswamy, a relatively unknown candidate, defeated S. Jayanna of the Congress by a margin of 8,267 votes. In Chitapur, Valmiki Naik defeated senior Congress leader and Union Labour Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge’s son and first-time contestant Priyank Kharge by 1,606 votes in a closely fought contest.