BJP consolidates its position


Party has improved upon its tally in Karnataka; poor show by Congress

BANGALORE: The Bharatiya Janata Party has made a clean sweep in Karnataka winning 19 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats — one more than the 18 it won in the 2004 general elections.

The BJP, which won four seats in the 1991 Lok Sabha elections, has grown steadily since, recording its best ever performance in these elections. In fact, it has contributed as many seats as Madhya Pradesh to the party’s national tally. The political campaign run by the Opposition parties against the policies and performance of the BJP Government does not appear to have impacted negatively on the electoral outcome for the party, which by any yardstick has put up a creditable performance.

In contrast, the performance of the Congress, despite the victories recorded by two former Chief Ministers — M. Veerappa Moily (Chickballapur) and N. Dharam Singh ( Bidar), and the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly, M. Mallikarjun Kharge (Gulbarga) — has plummeted with the party winning only six seats. The Janata Dal (Secular) has won three seats, performing a shade better than in the last elections.

Buoyed by the success of the party in the polls in Karnataka, Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, who had taken the lead in the party’s election campaign, said the people’s mandate is in appreciation of the development works initiated by his government over the past year.

“Despite a tacit understanding between the Congress and the JD (S) our party has been victorious, and although we expected to win 20 seats we have won 19. I am happy. The people have given a befitting reply to the Congress and the Janata Dal (S) which had levelled false charges against the BJP,” he said.

The former Prime Minister and JD(S) president H.D. Deve Gowda has been re-elected from Hassan with a record margin of 2.91 lakh votes while his son and former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy won the Bangalore Rural seat by a big margin of 1.30 lakh votes defeating Tejaswini Gowda of the Congress. Yet another big victory for the JD(S) was in Mandya where the former Transport Minister N. Cheluvarayaswamy who had lost the last Assembly elections from Nagamangala in the same Lok Sabha constituency, defeated the Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting and noted film actor M.H. Ambareesh.

For the BJP, B.Y. Raghavendra son of the Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, defeated the former Chief Minister S. Bangarappa in Shimoga by a margin of 52,893 votes. The BJP swept all the three seats in the State capital — Bangalore North (D.B.Chandre Gowda), Bangalore Central (P.C. Mohan) and Bangalore South (Ananth Kumar), and the three seats in the coastal belt — Dakshin Kannada (Nalin Kateel), Udupi-Chikmagalur (D.V.Sadananda Gowda ) and Uttara Kannada (Anant Hegde).

Notable among the top political leaders who lost the elections are C.K. Jaffer Sharief (Bangalore North), the former KPCC President Janardhan Poojary (Dakshin Kannada) and the former AICC General Secretary Margaret Alva (Uttara Kannada). The BJP failed in retaining the prestigious Mysore seat with its candidate C.H. Vijayashankar losing to H. Vishwanath of the Congress. For the third time in a row, R. Dhruvanarayan of the Congress defeated A.R. Krishnamurthy of the BJP in Chamarajanagar .

Both the Congress and the JD(S) had claimed that they would checkmate the growing popularity of the BJP in the State and would together win more seats than the BJP. The results have proved contrary and the two parties have been unsuccessful in garnering even 50 per cent of the seats won by the ruling party. Of the new entrants to the BJP, the former Minister Gurupadappa Nagamarapalli lost the Bidar seat while his son Suryakant lost the Bidar Assembly seat vacated by his father to Rahim Khan of the Congress. G.S. Basavaraj of the BJP won the Tumkur seat.

Among the few women who contested the elections only J. Shantha of the BJP could make the grade winning the prestigious Bellary seat by a narrow margin of 2,243 votes.

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