The BJP has completed a clean sweep in the Karnataka bypolls, winning both Sira in Tumkur district and Rajarajeshwarinagar, or RR Nagar, in Bengaluru.
The ruling party secured around 13,000 votes more than the Congress to clinch victory in Sira and romped home in RR Nagar, registering 58,113 votes more than its Congress rival.
The BJP had predicted these results, with Deputy Chief Minister Dr Ashwath Narayan telling NDTV: “We are 100%, 1,000% sure we are going to win the election in Sira and Rajarajeshwarinagar.”
He also predicted a BJP victory in elections to four legislative council seats held simultaneously.
The Congress had also been sure of victory, with DK Shivakumar, chief of the state unit, saying, “We are confident both seats we are going to win. MLC seats – out of four, three we may win.”
In Sira the Congress had fielded former minister TB Jayachandra and the JDS Ammajamma. Both lost to the BJP’s Dr CM Rajesh Gowda.
In RR Nagar, the Congress had fielded H Kusuma, the widow of the late IAS officer DK Ravi, while the JDS nominated V Krishnamurthy. The BJP candidate was former MLA N Munirathna.
In terms of numbers, neither result will make any difference to the stability of the state government, given the numerical superiority of the BJP in the House.
However, perception and prestige are part of politics, and all parties involved campaigned vigorously for these seats, with state leaders active on the ground – often with little regard for COVID-19 social distancing norms.
The bypoll in Sira was necessitated following the death of JDS legislator B Sathyanarayana in August this year, while the RR Nagar seat fell vacant last year following the disqualification of then N Munirathna, then a Congress MLA, under the anti-defection law.