BJP makes more inroads in Karnataka
Bangalore (PTI): Overcoming a determined opposition bid to stem the saffron surge, the ruling BJP in Karnataka has further consolidated its base by making inroads into new areas at the expense of Congress and JDS in the Lok Sabha polls.
Securing an impressive mandate winning 19 of the 28 seats, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa has consolidated its hold within the party and emerged stronger as a dependable leader for the saffron party in the South.
Yedyurappa, a powerful leader of Lingayats, a majority community in Karnataka, had steered BJP to victory in the 2008 Assembly polls,installing the first ever saffron party government in a Southern state.
Preliminary analysis shows, BJP enhanced its votes share to 42.33 per cent in this election, compared to 34.77 per cent secured in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls in which it won 18 seats.
Despite Congress improving its vote percentage from 36.82 to 38.32,the number of seats it won fell from eight to six.
The major loser is JDS headed by former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda as its share of votes dropped to 13.34 per cent from 20.45 per cent.However,JDS has increased its tally of two seats to three now.
BJP has expanded its influence in Congress strongholds of Raichur, Koppal and Chitradurga, winning all these seats.
But, the saffron party suffered a setback in Mysore, where its sitting MP C H Vijayashankar failed to get re-elected with Congress wresting the seat.
BJP has also demonstrated its hold over the coastal districts and Malnad region of Chikmagalur, Udupi and Shimoga with the party nominees emerging victorious staving of a stiff challenge from Congress.
In Dakshina Kannada, parts of which witnessed moral policing by sections of the saffron brigade and attacks on women at a pub in Mangalore and churches, BJP's new face Nalin Kumar Kateel humbled Congress veteran Janardhan Poojary.
BJP state unit President D V Sadananda Gowda conquered the newly carved Udupi-Chikmagalur seat and Yeddyurappa's son, B Y Raghavendra romped home in Shimoga, dealing a crushing blow to party hopper S Bangarappa who joined Congress just before the elections after deserting Samajwadi party.
BJP's attempts to achieve an electoral breakthrough in the Cauvery belt of Mandya and Bangalore rural by luring Vokkaliga Congressmen and fielding them as candidates failed to pay dividends.
L R Shivarame Gowda and actor C P Yogeshwar, who crossed over to BJP from Congress on the eve of elections and contested the Mandya and Bangalore Rural respectively were defeated by the nominees of JDS which derives its strength mainly from the Vokkaliga community.
Former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy won the Bangalore Rural and his confidant N Cheluvarayaswamy in Mandya.
Yeddyurappa ,who managed to shed the minority tag of his government by wooing MLAs from Congress and JDS and ensuring their victory in the bye-election after they resigned their assembly membership,has another uphill task now.
Yeddyurappa has to ensure victory for his party candidates in another round of bye-election to five assembly seats in about six months to fill seats that became vacant in the wake of resignation by two Congress MLAs and election of three to Lok Sabha.
Congress MLAs R Dhruvnarayana (Kollegal Assembly seat), M Mallikarjun Kharge (Chitapur) and Kumaraswamy (Ramanagara) have successfully contested Lok Sabha polls.
V Somanna and Yogeshwar had quit their assembly seats and joined BJP ahead of elections.