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Bypoll numbers show BJP making inroads into old Mysore region

Several districts including Chikkaballapura and Mandya have witnessed BJP's victory with a strong referendum. Some feel foray a temporary phenomenon, but party leaders insist they will use opportunity to deepen presence. The BJP’s first breakthrough in the Old Mysore region happened in the 2018 by-election to the Mandya Lok Sabha constituency.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Dec 16, 2019, 11.03 AM IST|Original: Dec 16, 2019, 11.03 AM IST
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Bengaluru: Of the 12 constituencies where the BJP registered victory in the recently held Karnataka bypolls, the party saw a massive leap in its vote share in four constituencies in and around Bengaluru compared to the Assembly elections last year.

In Chikkaballapura, KR Pete, Yeshwanthpur and Mahalakshmi Layout, the BJP not only won but also recorded a considerable rise in the number of votes polled in its favour. But it is the two constituencies in the Old Mysore region, Chikkaballapura and KR Pete, where the party registered a surge in its vote share. In the 2018 Assembly elections, the BJP’s vote share in Chikkaballapura was as low as 3.21% whereas, in the recent bypolls, party candidate K Sudhakar won with 48.53% of votes polled.

Similarly, in KR Pete in Mandya district which has traditionally been the JD(S)’ forte, the BJP’s vote share in the 2018 election was as low as 5.64%. In the bypolls, the party candidate Narayan Gowda who switched his allegiance from the JD(S) to the BJP, won the election garnering a 39.41% vote share which is the first for the BJP in this constituency.

While some argue that the BJP’s foray into the JD(S) and Congress belt of Old Mysore region is a temporary phenomenon and a result of circumstances, political observers say that the BJP could gradually exploit the opportunity to expand its base in the Vokkaliga heartland.

For instance, a BJP leader in Chikkaballapur said that the party could win this election in the Assembly segment purely because of the candidate (Sudhakar who was previously the Congress MLA and later joined the BJP). “If at all he quits the BJP in future, it is going to be a setback for us and we may not win the election,” he said.

But the party leaders in Mandya argue that they will use the opportunity to reach out to the people and gain their confidence for future elections. “Until now, in all the constituencies here, people voted for the JD(S) and we did not stand a chance. But now, with an MLA from our party, it will be easier to convince voters and expanded the base,” a BJP district committee leader said.

The BJP’s first breakthrough in the Old Mysore region happened in the 2018 by-election to the Mandya Lok Sabha constituency. Though the BJP candidate (former commercial tax official Siddaramaiah) lost the election, he managed to secure 2.44 lakh votes, which the party leaders say was a decent vote share considering that the electoral fight in Mandya was always between the JD(S) and the Congress, and the BJP’s votes never crossed a lakh.

The next leap was in the 2018 Assembly elections when the party candidate Preetham Gowda won from Hassan city and three other candidates in the district lost by a narrow margin. Hassan had been the impregnable fortress of JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda and the BJP winning a seat here was unthinkable.

“The defeat of DeveGowda in Tumakuru and his grandson Nikhil Kumaraswamy in Mandya in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections was when the BJP actually began deepening its footprint in the Old Mysore region,” said political analyst and media advisor to the chief minister, S Mahadev Prakash. He said with the BJP slowly portraying deputy chief minister CN Ashwath Narayan as the Vokkaliga face of the party and the entry of Congress and JD(S) MLAs to the party will only help the BJP to further its prospects in the Old Mysore region, unless a strong leader emerges in the JD(S).

Picture
GAINING GROUND

In the 2018 Assembly polls, the BJP’s vote share in Chikkaballapura was as low as 3.21% whereas, in the recent bypolls, party candidate K Sudhakar won with 48.53% of votes polled

NEW RECORDS

In KR Pete in Mandya district, BJP’s Narayan Gowda won garnering a 39.41% vote share, which is a first for the party in this constituency


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