BJP bags five of eight seats in Karnataka by-polls, achieves majority (Roundup)December 30th, 2008 - 6:34 pm ICT by IANS
Bangalore, Dec 30 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tuesday won five of the eight Karnataka assembly constituencies where by-elections had been held and realised its dream of ruling a southern state on its own. The Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) bagged three seats, while the other main opposition Congress drew a blank.The BJP candidates won from Hukkeri, Arabhavi, Karwar, Devadurga, and Doddaballapur while the JD-S emerged victorious in Maddur, Madhugiri and Turuvekere.
With these wins, the BJP’s strength in the 225-member state assembly has gone up to 115. It had won 110 seats in the May elections and formed its first government in Karnataka - and south India - with the help of six independents, five of whom were made cabinet ministers.
The support of the six independents takes the effective strength of the government in the assembly to 121.
The by-polls, held Saturday, were a prestige issue for the ruling party as seven of them were necessitated after three Congress and four JD-S legislators resigned from the assembly to join the BJP.
The eighth by-poll, in Maddur, was necessitated by the death of JD-S legislator M.S. Siddaraju.
While the Congress suffered a rout in the by-polls, JD-S retained not only Maddur and Madhugiri but wrested Turuvekere from the Congress.
BJP’s Umesh Katti won from Hukkeri, Balachachandra Jarkiholi from Arabhavi, Anand Asnotikar from Karwar, Shivanagouda Nayak from Devadurg and J. Narasimhaswamy from Doddaballapur. Narasimhaswamy is the son of senior Congress leader and former union minister R.L. Jalappa.
Katti, Jarkiholi, Asnotikar and Nayak are cabinet ministers in the B.S. Yeddyurappa government. Katti, Jakiholi and Nayak crossed over to the BJP from JD-S and Asnotikar from the Congress.
The by-polls marked the successful entry of the fourth family member of former prime minister and JD-S president H. D. Deve Gowda into Karnataka politics. His daughter-in-law Anita Kumaraswamy, wife of former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, won from Madhugiri.
Kumaraswamy and Anita will be the first husband-wife team in the Karnataka assembly.
Kalpana Siddaraju, widow of Siddaraju, won from Maddur in Mandya district and M.T. Krishnappa, also of JD-S, from Turuvekere.
M.D. Lakshminarayan, the BJP candidate in Turuvekere, suffered a heart attack after the results were announced and was admitted to a hospital in Bangalore.