Bengaluru: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka suffered a huge set back as the Congress clinched both seats of Nanjangud and Gundlupet by-elections on Thursday.
Backward classes leader and BJP candidate V. Srinivas Prasad lost to Congress candidate Kalale Keshavamurthy by 21,334 votes, according to the state election commission at the time of filing this report.
In neighbouring Gundlupet constituency, Geetha Mahadev Prasad, wife of late H.S.Mahadev Prasad had a beat of 10,877 votes against BJP’s C.S.Niranjan Kumar.
The hotly contested by-elections had turned into a prestige battle between chief minister Siddaramaiah and his predecessor and state BJP president B.S.Yeddyurappa with the former cementing his place as a mass leader.
Both parties increased their vote share considerably as Janata Dal (secular) did not contest both seats. Congress increased their vote share in Nanjangud constituency to 55.15% compared to 36% in the 2013 assembly elections.The BJP registered a 41.50% vote share compared to 5.07% in 2013.Prasad won on a Congress ticket in 2013.
The mandate boosts chief minister Siddaramaiah’s as mass leader going into the 2018 elections forcing Yeddyurappa to the drawing board.
“I accept defeat in the by-elections, will bounce back in the 2018 assembly elections with 150 seats," Yeddyurappa said on Twitter.
The Congress leadership said that the results would be repeated in next year’s assembly polls.
Siddaramaiah took to microblogging site Twitter on Thursday to hail the win and say that the vote was a testament for the state government’s rule and schemes in the last four years.
Nanjangud went in for polls after senior Congress leader Prasad left the party and joined the BJP after he was dropped from chief minister Siddaramaiah’s cabinet in July. Gundlupet went to polls after H.S. Mahadev Prasad, a Congress legislator and minister, died in January.