LS polls: Karnataka BJP reworking on strategies after loss in Assembly elections

The saffron party lost its deposit in 46 Assembly constituencies and its candidates were relegated to third and fourth positions in most of the seats

Bengaluru: After suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of Congress in the Karnataka Assembly elections, the BJP is in the process of reworking on its strategies for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

BJP which had faced the Assembly elections with utmost confidence by allotting tickets to 72 new faces, while denying them to senior top party leaders was still decimated by the grand-old party.

The saffron party lost its deposit in 46 Assembly constituencies and its candidates were relegated to third and fourth positions in most of the seats. In many seats the candidates did not manage to get the winning margin votes.

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Prominent Vokkaliga face of BJP and senior leader R. Ashoka, who was pitted against DyCM D.K. Shivakumar, suffered a humiliating defeat in Kanakapura constituency. Shivakumar polled a whopping 1.43 lakh votes, while BJP candidate R. Ashoka managed mere 19,753 votes. JD(S) candidate B. Nagaraju managed to get 20,631 votes. Congress polled 75 per cent of votes, JD(S) 11 per cent and BJP managed to get 10 per cent of votes.

The BJP suffered another jolt at the Chamarajpet Assembly segment in Bengaluru. Former Police Commissioner of Bengaluru Bhaskar Rao was fielded against Minister for Housing and Wakf B.Z. Zameer Ahmad Khan. Zameer won with 53,953 votes and Bhaskar could garner 23,678 votes.

Adding to the woes, five independent candidates have either won or secured second position in the elections pushing the BJP candidates further down. B.M. Puspa vageeshaswamy from Mayakonda seat got 37,614 votes and secured second place. BJP candidate Basavaraja Naik polled 34,630 votes. Congress emerged winner with a margin of 33,302 votes.

In Channagiri seat, earlier represented by Madal Virupakshappa of BJP, who caused tremendous setback for the party by getting arrested in alleged bribe to tender scam, his son Madal Mallikarjuna secured 61,503 votes against the Congress candidate Basavaraju .V, who won elections with a margin of 33,302 votes. BJP candidate Shiv Kumar was polled with only 27,467 votes.

The Sira Assembly constituency wrestled by BJP in the by-elections has gone back to Congress. BJP candidate Dr Rajesh Gowda polled 42,329 votes. JD(S) candidate R. Ugresh polled 56,834 votes. Senior Congress leader T.B. Jayachandra polled 86,084 votes.

In another important drubbing former minister K.C. Narayana Gowda who joined BJP in ‘Operation Lotus’ from JD (S) was pushed to third position. H.T. Manjunath of JD (S) won with a margin of 22,344 votes. Narayana Gowda got third position after Congress. The saffron party which won both the seats in by-polls in 2019, celebrated these victories and gave an indication that the party had made inroads into south Karnataka, a strong turf of JD (S) and Congress parties.

In Arasikere seat, JD (S) candidate N.R. Santhosh, a close relative of former CM B.S. Yediyurappa who was denied ticket by the BJP managed to secure second place by getting 78,198 votes. G.V. Basavaraju, BJP candidate managed to get mere 6,538 votes.

In Gangavathy constituency, former BJP minister and mining baron Gali Janardhana Reddy delivered a defeat to BJP and pushed the candidate to third position. His wife Gali Aruna Laxmi was polled 48,577 votes in Bellary Rural seat and got second highest votes. BJP candidate Gali Somashekara Reddy came in third position with 37,155 votes.

Former Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai while taking responsibility for the defeat of Assembly elections stressed that the party lost as its new experiment with new faces did not work out. BJP polled 1.40 crore votes and the saffron party got 36 per cent of the votes polled in the elections. The Congress polled 1.67 crore votes (42.88 per cent). The JD (S) party got 13.29 per cent of votes and polled 52 lakh votes.

In the 2018 Assembly elections, BJP polled 1.33 crore votes. It had managed to get 36.35 per cent of votes and won 104 seats. The Congress party polled 1.39 crore votes and managed to get 38.14 per cent of votes. It had won 80 seats then. JD(S) polled 67 lakh votes (18.3 per cent).

BJP in the state had got more votes than the previous elections but failed to win seats. The Congress party which increased its tally from 38.14 per cent to 42.88 per cent emerged victorious with a clear majority. About 15 lakh votes of JD(S) in the last elections have gone to the Congress, according to experts. BJP think tank is mulling all the factors to come out with a strategy to win maximum seats out of 28 in Karnataka. In 2019, the BJP had swept 25 seats and Congress managed only one seat. This time Congress is hopeful of winning more than 20 seats.

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