In a huge setback for Congress in Karnataka, BJP candidates Munirathna and Dr CM Rajesh Gowda have won the Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Sira constituencies, respectively. The latter is a major win for BJP, which is the Vokkaliga heartland.
Rajarajeshwari Nagar (RR Nagar) BJP candidate Munirathna has won by a margin of 57,672 votes, defeating Congress candidate H Kusuma and JD-S candidate V Krishnamurthy on Tuesday, November 10. BJP's Dr C M Rajesh Gowda won the elections by 12,949 votes against Congress candidate T B Jayachandra and JD(S) candidate Ammajamma B.
"This constituency should be developed. You have trusted me implicitly and voted for me. I promise not to break your trust. It's our govt in power now. I will work for the development of this segment 24x7 and even beyond my capacity to repay my gratitude for voters. I can say one thing for the Congress candidate. Please speak the truth. I have never said anything derogatory against her. I have never called her "munde" (a derogatory reference to a widow). I respect women and today the voters have shown they don't believe lies," Munirathna Naidu said.
Congress' Vokkaliga connection fails
Interestingly Congress' Kusuma Ravi, the wife of deceased IAS officer DK Ravi, belongs to the Vokkaliga community similar to DK Shivkumar and his brother. This clearly means the congress party was eyeing to lure Vokkaligas, the dominant caste of in South Karnataka, but failed miserably.
Be it Congress or the BJP, the votes of Lingayats and Vokkaligas have been important for the political parties to come to power in Karnataka. In the past, the Lingayat community has strongly backed BJP, this time the Congress was eyeing to net the Vokkaligas through Kusuma but was an utter failure.
The RR Nagar and Sira Bypoll
Counting of votes in the RR Nagar in Bengaluru and Sira in Tumakuru Assembly bypolls and biennial elections to the Legislative Council seats began at 8.30 am on Tuesday. The Election Commission (EC) had made elaborate arrangements for the counting.
According to the Karnataka Election Commission, counting started with postal ballots at 8 am and EVMs at 8.30 am. RR Nagar had recorded a low voter turnout of 45.24 per cent, while Sira recorded good voter turnout with 82.31 per cent on November 3.
The Sira seat fell vacant after the Janata Dal-Secular candidate B Satyaranarayana, an advocate who won the 2018 polls, succumbed to a chronic illness on August 4.
The RR Nagar seat fell vacant in July 2019 after the Congress MLA Munirathna Naidu, a wealthy civil contractor and film producer, crossed over to the BJP to help the party come to power. The R R Nagar bypoll should have been held in December 2019 but was delayed on account of a case of electoral fraud filed against Munirathna Naidu by his BJP rival from the 2018 polls.