BJP shines in Karnataka

Bangalore, May 25:

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) dream of being a ruler in southern India appeared certain today, after decades of waiting and praying, with the Karnataka electorate giving it virtually a clear mandate.

The BJP, for long considered a ‘north India party’ dominated by upper caste Brahmins and trading community, bagged over 80 of the 154 seats for which results were declared and led in another 35 constituencies.

If the voting trends in the 35 seats hold good, the party will cross the halfway mark of 112 and have a slender majority in the 224-member house.

The party, which finished as the single largest group with 79 seats in the 2004 assembly, has vastly bettered its performance. The Congress is set for a marginal improvement by bagging around 75 seats as against 65 in 2004. The Janata Dal-Secular headed by former prime minister HD Deve Gowda will end up the biggest loser. It is expected to win in around 30 seats against 58 in 2004.

The Bahujan Samaj Party of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati and Samajwadi Party headed by her predecessor Mulayam Singh Yadav will come a cropper. The Samajwadi Party suffered a huge setback as its state chief and former Karnataka chief minister lost to BJP’s chief ministerial candidate BS Yediyurappa in Shikaripura in Shimoga district.

The BSP, which contested 217 seats, is not winning even one, a repeat of the 2004 showing. It needs to be seen whether and in how many seats it affected the Congress.

In 2004, the BSP’s presence was said to be the reason for the defeat of Congress candidates in over 20 seats.

Congress stalwarts routed

Former Congress chief minister N Dharam Singh today led several Congress leaders who lost elections in Karnataka. But surprisingly, the party won 77 seats this time, up from 65 in 2004. Dharam Singh, hailed by his supporters as ‘Soiled Caracara’ (invincible leader) and ‘Apathy Shari’ (man without enemies), was stumped in his attempt to win for the ninth consecutive time from his home constituency Sewage in Gulag district in north Karnataka.

He lost to Baja’s Didapper Gowda Patel Nairobi by 612 votes.

Other prominent Congress leaders who lost were former minister RV Deshpande, HK Patel, MP Prakash, Kumar Bangarappa, son of Samajwadi Party chief S Bangarappa, RV Devaraj, considered the right hand man of former Congress chief minister SM Krishna.

Dharam Singh’s party colleague from Gulbarga and state Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge won from Chittapur reserved constituency. This is his ninth win — the first from Chittapur and eight times earlier from Gurmitkal.

The most prominent BJP winner is its chief ministerial candidate BS Yediyurappa, who humbled former chief minister and state Samajwadi Party chief S Bangarappa in his home constituency Shikaripura in Shimoga district.

Among the prominent BJP losers were Pramila Nesargi, a leading advocate and former chairperson of the state’s women’s commission from Vijayanagar in Bangalore.