Bengaluru: With BJP polling 2.44 lakh votes in the recent Mandya Lok Sabha bypoll, a hitherto unimaginable figure for the party in the constituency, where it has always performed miserably in the past, the question uppermost in most people's minds here is which of the parties , the JD(S ) or the Congress lost its vote share to it.
Although defeated in the bypoll, the BJP is celebrating its never before performance in the constituency. Party candidate, Dr Siddaramaiah, believes he received a large chunk of the votes that traditionally go to the Congress, in addition to the votes of his friends and relatives in around 400 villages of the constituency and around 50, 000 votes of BJP loyalists.
Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, he claimed that days before the bypoll, on November 1, his popularity in the constituency had almost touched 50 per cent among the electorate and the intelligence department too had predicted gains for the BJP.
“Learning about this, JD(S) candidate L.R. Shivaramegowda spent huge amounts of money to woo voters. Party supremo H.D. Deve Gowda directed all his eight legislators to quickly distribute money among the people,” he alleged.
Dr Siddaramaiah also claimed that many of his close friends in the Congress had worked silently for him defying the diktat of their high command to work for the JD(S) candidate. “Besides, the goodwill my father enjoys here too worked for me. This election has proved that the lotus can bloom in the district. KRRS activists also supported me at the request of Sunita Puttanaiah, widow of Melukote MLA K S Puttanaiah,” he said, adding that he was ready to tour the constituency as many times as needed if the BJP promised to field him again from Mandya in the 2019 Lok Sabha poll.
Meanwhile, the BJP's performance is causing concern among Congress and JD(S) leaders as it has never made such an impact in the constituency. Seeing this as a warning, a Congress leader says a surprise result cannot be ruled out from Mandya in the coming Lok Sabha election.
“The BJP has won the anti-Congress and anti-JD(S) votes. This is an indication of a slow consolidation of votes in favour of BJP. This is a lesson for JD(S) not to depend too much on its legislators from the constituency,” he added.
In his view even if the JD(S) fields Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy's son Nikhil, or Lakshmi Ashwin Gowda, a retired IRS officer, in the 2019 LS poll from the constituency, the BJP may field Dr Siddaramaiah again, seeing the support he garnered in the recent bypoll.
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