Karnataka By-Elections: Who’s the Winner & Loser ? (Part 1)

There is a proverb in Kannada (Yāradō duḍḍu ellam’mana jātre ) which in English translates to (Somebody’s money & Yellama’s Fair), which clearly defines Karnataka politics today. All 3 Major state political parties of Karnataka are in bitter fight with each other as By-Elections are scheduled for Oct 21, 2019.

How Lok Sabha Election turned the Tide for BJP in Karnataka?

In 2018 when Congress-JDS formed govt with much fanfare, the workers of both the parties were seething in revenge at the background. This was evident in 2019 loksabha elections when JDS-Congress just won 2 seats, D.K Shivakumar’s brother D.K. Suresh from Bangalore rural & Deve Gowda’s grandson ‘Prajwal Revanna’ from Hassan. BJP won 25 seats a record of sorts. BJP had won seats like Chamarajanagar from old Mysore region which it had never won since 1947. JD(s) had its worst performance winning just one seat. Congress too experienced a complete rout in Karnataka, first since 1947. JD(s) even lost huge chunk of votes in its stronghold old-Mysore region, citadel for Kuamaraswamy to become Chief minister in 2018. Kumaraswamy’s son lost to Sumalatha (Independent candidate) by a margin of 1 lakh votes. This was unprecedented as Mandya region was the hot-bed for JD(s) politics. Mandya which consists of large Vokkali population helped Devegowda enhance his political career and become Chief Minister of Karnataka & Prime Minister of India. Loosing Mandya was similar to MODI loosing Vadodara & Pawar loosing Baramati.

Why Congress- JD(s) Alliance Broke?

Many reasons are attributed for JDS-COngress alliance to fail in 2019 loksabha elections.

  1. Giving Tickets to only Family Members.
  2. Infighting within JDS-Congress leaders & workers
  3. Congress silently working to stop JD(s) growth.

Among above, reason 2 is very much important and was the basis of the downfall of Congress-JDS alliance. Workers who fought every election were suddenly asked to campaign together for 2019 loksabha elections. This never worked on the ground and there were reports even before elections that JD(s) Panchayat & Local leaders are inclined to vote for MODI in 2019 wherever there was Congress candidate.

Predict: Supreme Court to Allow Karnataka Rebels to Contest By-polls

Rebels within the Alliance

On July 2019, 2 members, Ramesh Jarkiholi and Anand Singh of the Congress, submitted their resignations. This was due as Ramesh Jarkiholi was raging in anger against D.K.Shivakumar for his involvement in belgaum politics. Belgaum and surrounding area is considered as citadel of Jarakiholli brothers politics. Getting involved there made Ramesh Jarkiholi seething in anger. D.K.Shivakumar support to his rival Lakshmi hebbalkar in PLD bank elections was the melting point of the relationship.

Over the course of the next few days, the number of resignations increased to 13 from Congress and 3 from the JD(s). All MLA’s went to Mumbai and rested there taking an oath to end Congress-JDS coalition. Many Congress stalwarts & Siddaramaiah supporters like MTB Nagaraj & Byrathi basavaraj were in the defection camp. Many reasons are attributed to the fall, from No support of money for Bangalore development authority to sidelining them in Politics.

14 INC and 3 JD(S) MLAs were responsible for the political crisis. 1 KPJP MLA also left the coalition government. After some days, one of the legislator from INCRamalinga Reddy, withdrew his resignation. 2 Independent MLA’s (1 from KJPJ & other independent) also withdrew. To his bad-luck both of them were inducted in Kumarswamy cabinet. 1 KJPJ MLA had given a letter of merging his party with Congress and so was disqualified. So in total 18 MLA’s 17 were disqualified & 1 independent MLA supported BJP in vote of confidence and joined Yediyurappa cabinet. 1 BSP MLA was absent in vote of confidence. He was later dismissed from the BSP party. In this twist & turn of politics finally BJP won the vote of confidence and Yediyurappa was sworn in as Chief Minister on 26 July , 2019. 


On October 21st, 2019, along with the two states of Maharashtra and Haryana, by-poll to 15 out of 17 assembly seats will be held. JD(s) and Congress and no more in alliance. Though the scenario looks like advantage BJP, but the election turns out to be very much crucial. If BJP fails to win maximum number of seats its government may fall short of majority and thereby collapse.

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