Bengaluru: Winning 12 of the 15 constituencies to which byelections were held on December 5 has not only given the ruling BJP a majority in the state assembly but also a pan- Karnataka image. Its inroads into the JD(S) bastion of old Mysuru and Vokkaliga dominated constituencies of Bengaluru Rural district have toppled its image as merely a party of North Karnataka and the coastal districts.
While the BJP made a dent in the JD(S) bastion of Hassan district by winning from Hassan constituency in the 2018 Assembly elections, the recent byelections have seen it make headway in Mandya district, which has never backed it in the past.
Its unexpected victory in K.R.Pete constituency of the district has given the party a first-time foothold in the Vokkaliga dominated areas of old Mysuru region and a presence in all districts of Karnataka.
Soon after the byelection results were out, BJP national general secretary, ( organization) , B.L. Santhosh tweeted that “BJP wins in K.R. Pete Assembly seat in Mandya…Now there is no district in Karnataka where BJP hasn’t won Assembly elections.” And Chief Minister B.S.Yediyurappa told reporters, “winning K.R. Pete gives me joy as we had so far not won assembly seats in Mandya district and moreover, my birthplace, Bookanakere is located in the constituency.”
In fact, making an enormous dent into the JD(S) votebank is considered the BJP’s biggest achievement in recent years in the state. While the Vokkaliga voters of old Mysuru region and rural Bengaluru connected with the JD(S) for years, they now seem to be veering towards the saffron party.
The BJP also damaged the JDS) votebank in Bengaluru urban and rural districts, winning Chikkaballapura, Mahalakshmilayout and Yeshwantapura constituencies, where the latter party has a strong presence.
“The biggest loser these bypolls was the JD(S). Defeat of the Congress was expected, but the JD(S) has lost all three seats, which it won it in the 2018 Assembly polls. Winning of seats in JD(S) strongholds is not an easy task,” said a senior BJP functionary....