Did BS Yediyurappa turn the tide in favour of BJP?

Worried over low turnout, CM ensured BJP loyalists voted.

Bengaluru: Decisions taken at crucial moments make all the difference between victory and defeat and the story of the Assembly bypolls held on Thursday to 15 seats is no different as a herculean effort made by Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa to draw pro-BJP voters to polling booths on sensing a low voter turnout, could tilt the scales in favour of the BJP as the exit polls have already indicated.

Sources in the BJP say Yediyurappa got down to work to draw party supporters to the polling booths Thursday noon soon after he was told about the low 40 per cent polling in the state. He did not throw up his hands and do nothing, instead he reportedly called every leader, from the seniormost to the most junior, to make sure the party's supporters didn't miss voting.

The BJP veteran then proceeded to monitor if they had actually turned up at the booths. This energised party workers, who did everything possible to make sure the BJP's supporters cast their vote, say sources.

If the results are in line with the exit polls, it will be a big plus for Yediyurappa for another reason too as he faced huge rebellion in every constituency thanks to the fielding of disqualified legislators in the bypolls. A sterling performance in the bypolls against this backdrop could prove a huge boost for him, say party sources.

No initiative of this kind was visible in the Congress camp with sources claiming that it was all because of former chief minister Siddaramaiah's inability to rally his partymen behind him and also strike a chord with voters. If Yediyurappa can win more than the eight seats he needs for a simple majority, Karnataka will also have bucked the recent national trend, and people rejecting turncoats in elections. In neighbouring Maharashtra, the BJP lost many seats because it fielded turncoats from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in the recent assembly elections there.

While the Congress in Karnataka tried its best to harp on the "betrayal" of its party legislators, who brought down the coalition government in July, it appears this factor may not have worked in the state as much. In fact, many Congress and Janata Dal (S) leaders here admit that the ruling BJP may make a greater haul of seats these byelections than anticipated.

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