Congress wins Jayanagar seat, takes Karnataka assembly tally to 80
Congress candidate Sowmya Reddy wins Karnataka’s Jayanagar assembly seat by defeating Bharatiya Janata Party’s B.N.Prahalad by just 2,889 votes
Bengaluru: The Congress picked up yet another seat in Karnataka with Sowmya Reddy winning the Jayanagar assembly bypoll, defeating Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) B.N.Prahalad by just 2,889 votes.
Reddy is the daughter of senior Congress leader and former Karnataka home minister, Ramalinga Reddy, who is the sitting legislator from neighbouring BTM Layout constituency.
Soon after her victory, Reddy added to the controversy over cabinet berths with her comments on the exclusion of her father. It would be a loss to the party, she said. Ramalinga Reddy was one of the many senior Congress leaders who had missed out on a cabinet berth in the newly-formed coalition government under chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy.
The win in Jayanagar takes the Congress tally to 80 in the 224-seat Karnataka legislative assembly. In fact, this was a major win for the party given that the constituency, a saffron stronghold, was with the BJP for the last two terms.
The loss could also dent the chances of BJP leader and union minister Ananth Kumar, the parliamentarian from Bengaluru South, in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Last month, one seat in Karnataka fell vacant after, Jamkhandi MLA and Congress legislator Siddu Nyamagouda died in a road accident.
“We humbly accept the Jayanagar voters’ mandate in this tightly-contested election, losing by only a small margin. Inspite of an unholy last minute tie up of @INCKarnataka & #JDS @BJP4Karnataka has increased its votes from 2013 – 43,990 (to) 2018 – 50,270. We thank voters for this trust,” Ananth Kumar said in a twitter post.
Though the BJP occupies almost as many seats as the Congress in Bengaluru’s 28 assembly seats, the saffron party dominates all three parliament constituencies in the city. The party is also banking on Karnataka for a nationwide revival in next year’s general elections.
As it stands, the Congress has 15 seats in Bengaluru, against 11 of the BJP and just two for the JD(S).
Jayanagar did not go to the polls on 12 May after its two time legislator and BJP candidate, B.N.Vijayakumar died while on campaign trail. The BJP decision to field Vijayakumar’s inexperienced brother in Jayanagar led to dissent within the party ranks and other ticket aspirants including former Bengaluru city Mayor, S.Nataraj.
Sowmya Reddy, who has a masters in Environmental Technology from New York Institute of Technology, had the advantage of the Janata Dal (Secular) candidate pulling out of the race after the regional party decided to strengthen its coalition partner in Bengaluru—the seat of power.
The BJP, however, had something to cheer about on Wednesday as it managed to bag three of the six legislative council seats that went to the polls last week. The Congress won just one of the six seats while the JD(S) notched up two seats. The results and upcoming council elections change the equation in the upper house of the state legislature. The JD(S) is expected to break off its existing coalition with the BJP in the upper house after the regional party teamed up with the Congress to form the government in Karnataka as no party got a majority on its own.
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