Bengaluru: In a signal to the BJP of certain defeat when the Congress and the JD(S) close ranks, and the second bypoll blow after the defeat in the Rajarajeshwarinagar Assembly poll, Sowmya Reddy of the Congress won the Jayanagar seat defeating BJP candidate, B.N. Prahlad Babu by a wafer thin margin of 2,889 votes on Wednesday.
The bypoll in which the JD(S) candidate Kalegowda backed out of the contest in support of the Congress, has sent a clear warning to the BJP that its prospects of winning a substantial number of seats in the 2019 parliament polls would look bleak if the coalition partners, Congress and JD9S) join hands.
In a close contest, Ms Reddy, daughter of former home minister, Ramalinga Reddy, won 54,457 votes as against Mr Babu's 51,568. The Congress win is a blow for the BJP as it had hoped to retain Jayanagar banking on the sympathy factor following the sudden death of its hugely popular MLA from the constituency, B.N. Vijaykumar in the run-up to the assembly poll, by fielding his brother, Prahlad Babu in his place.
For the Congress the win is significant as its tally has risen to 79 in the 222- strong Assembly and it now has 15 of the 28 seats in Bengaluru City and Bengaluru Rural district in its kitty. One seat in the Assembly fell vacant recently due to the death of Congress MLA, Siddu Nyamagouda in a road accident while CM Kumaraswamy has vacated Ramanagara, one of the two seats he won.
The win is also significant for Ms Reddy, a debutante, as she is only the seventh woman from Bengaluru to enter the Vidhana Soudha. Senior BJP leader, Shobha Karandlaje, who now represents Udupi-Chikmagalur in the Lok Sabha, had won from Yeshwantpur in the 2008 Assembly poll.
The Congress was clearly helped by JD(S) candidate, Kale Gowda withdrawing from the fray at the eleventh hour on the directions of his party supremo, H.D. Deve Gowda, who reportedly acted on the request of Mr Ramalinga Reddy to avoid a split in the party's vote share.
First father-daughter duo in the assembly
The newly-elected MLA from Jayanagar Assembly constituency, Ms Sowmya Reddy and her father and MLA Ramalinga Reddy have created a new record by becoming the first father-daughter duo to be elected to the state Assembly.
The Karnataka Assembly has witnessed the presence of father-son, brother-sister, wife and husband but for the first time, a father-daughter duo are entering the Assembly. In the current Assembly, Mr Siddaramaiah and his son, Dr Yatindra Siddaramaiah are members and so are Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and his brother and PWD Minister, Mr H.D. Revanna.
In the previous Assembly, Vijaynagar MLA Mr M Krishnappa and his son and Govindarajanagar MLA Mr Priya Krishna were members. Mr H.D. Kumaraswamy and his wife, Ms Anitha Kumaraswamy too were members of the Assembly at the same time.