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Defeat in Karnataka Bypolls: Siddaramaiah, Dinesh Gundu Rao quit Congress positions

Siddaramaiah has sent in his letter of resignation to AICC president Sonia Gandhi, reiterating his loyalty to Gandhi as well as the party. He expressed regrets at not being able to win more seats despite making sincere efforts.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Dec 10, 2019, 08.16 AM IST
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Congress
The resignations came moments after the Congress faced defeat in the by-polls.
BENGALURU: Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa has emerged stronger in the BJP after the party won 12 of the 15 assembly seats it contested in the byelection, pushing the Congress to the fringes and upending the Janata Dal (S) even in its own stronghold of Mandya district.

The victory has helped the ruling party comfortably cross the halfway mark in the assembly and eliminated any immediate threat to Yediyurappa’s leadership in the state.

The intensity of the BJP win was so strong that Congress legislature party leader Siddaramaiah and state Congress chief Dinesh Gundu Rao quit their positions, owning up responsibility for the party’s poor show. AICC president Sonia Gandhi is expected to reorganise the state unit and reassign the responsibilities, party insiders said.

Yediyurappa is expected to leave for Delhi in the next couple of days with a list of probable ministers. “We will keep our promise. We will reward all those MLAs who resigned and stood by us,” the CM said.

Of the 15 assembly constituencies that faced bypolls, the Congress’s tally has dropped to two seats from the 11 it held earlier, while the JD(S) crashed to zero from three. The two parties could barely contain the march of the BJP, which is evident from the impressive lead its candidates mustered, except in KR Pete in Mandya district where it debuted with a lead of about 9,700 votes. In Hosakote, however, BJP rebel Sharath Bache Gowda defeated his BJP rival, MTB Nagaraj.

After this victory, Yediyurappa is unlikely to face hurdles to completing the government’s remaining term of three-and-a-half years. “We will focus on providing good administration, and aim to win 150 seats in the next assembly polls,” the CM said.

The message from Mandya voters is unambiguous to the JD(S). It lost in the recent Lok Sabha as well as the current assembly bypolls. JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy released a statement in which he sarcastically commended voters for supporting a “pure” and “stable” government. The party, however, will have to read the writing on the wall if it is serious about winning back the territories it has ceded.

Unlike the Congress, where leaders did not put up a united show, Yediyurappa led the campaign from the front, touring the entire state. His son, BY Vijayendra, camped in KR Pete along with deputy CM CN Ashwathnarayan and Hassan MLA Preetham Gowda, meeting voters and sewing up strategies. The constituency has been special for the CM’s family as Yediyurappa was born at the Bookanakere village there, though he later shifted to Shivamogga. His emotional card seemed to have worked with KR Pete voters than Kumaraswamy’s tearful appeal for votes.

The infighting among the Congress leaders has cost the party dear. Sections of the Congress leaders thought Siddaramaiah would walk away with the credit if the party were to perform well, and hence, were not fully involved in the campaigning.

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