Yeddyurappa hails BJP show in Karnataka, grieves NDA defeat (Lead)

May 16th, 2009 - 11:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bangalore, May 16 (IANS) For Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, D-day turned into an anti-climax as the joy of his party winning 19 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in the state was dashed by the defeat of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led (BJP) National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the national level.
Though the party demonstrated its hold in the state by increasing its tally to 19 seats from 18 in the 2004 elections, the failure of the BJP and its pre-poll allies in posing a modicum of challenge to the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) has reduced the massive victory in the state to mere academic interest.

“Though we have succeeded in retaining the trust of the people across the state, the performance of the NDA at the national level is disappointing. Our national leadership will analyse the factors behind the loss,” Yeddyurappa told reporters after the verdict.

Thanking the people of Karnataka for a resounding mandate to the BJP, the chief minister said though the final outcome was not up to the party’s expectation it was satisfactory.

“We had expected to win 22 seats but have won 19. By winning one more than in 2004 elections, the party has strengthened its position in this election. We have lost three-four seats by a narrow margin due to internal agreement between the Congress and the JD-S (Janata Dal-Secular),” Yeddyurappa pointed out.

Asked about the victory of his son B.Y. Raghavendra from the high-profile Shimoga, an elated Yeddyurappa said it was a victory of the people and his party’s cadres, who toiled to defeat former chief minister and party-hopper S. Bangarappa.

Bangarappa had left the Samajwadi Party (SP) to contest on a Congress ticket for the sixth time.

The 77-year-old Bangarappa, who retained the seat in 2004 elections contesting from the BJP and retained the seat in a bye-election as SP candidate in March 2005, lost to 36-year-old Raghavendra by a margin of 52,893 votes.

Incidentally, Yeddyurappa defeated Bangarappa from the Shikaripura assembly segment of the parliamentary constituency in the May 2008 assembly elections.

“As far as the BJP’s defeat at the national level is concerned, we have to bow our head to the people’s verdict. We will sit down in Delhi soon to discuss the factors that let us down in north India. The party’s victory in the state has put greater responsibility on us to work for the development of Karnataka on 24×7,” Yeddyurappa asserted.

Referring to the party’s candidates winning all the three seats in Bangalore, the chief minister said it was ample demonstration of the state government’s efforts to improve the tech hub’s crumbling infrastructure and chaotic traffic since the party came to power a year ago.

Meanwhile, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president R.V. Deshpande accepted responsibility for the poor showing of the party, whose strength in the 15th Lok Sabha declined to six from eight earlier.

“We bow to the verdict of the people in all humility. I take the moral and legal responsibility for not able to win more than six seats in the state. It’s collective responsibility. The party’s high command will take the decision on how to revive our fortunes,” Deshpande told reporters, adding he would not resign from the party’s post unless directed by the high command.

Meanwhile, former prime minister and JD-S supremo H.D. Deve Gowda, who won from Hassan for the third time in a row with the highest victory margin in the state (291,113 votes), said he would accept the mandate of the people gracefully.

“I have not been well. I will talk to you people later when I get well. Our party has fared better than last time by winning three seats in the state as against two in the 2004 elections. We have wrested Mandya from the Congress,” Deve Gowda said.

When asked about the fate of the Third Front, which he spearheaded to form in March, Deve Gowda said he would discuss with the leaders of the Left parties next week on their next course of action.

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