Karnataka bypolls 2018: Why is victory in Bellary very special for Congress?
Bengaluru, Nov 6: The landslide victory for Congress in Bellary Lok Sabha seat is very special for the grand old party. The Congress reclaimed the constituency after a gap of 14 years.
Following reasons will explain why this is a special victory for the Congress party which was not able to decide on a candidate for the Bellary LS byelection due to in-fighting between Jarakiholi brothers and 'troubleshooter 'DK Shivakumar'.
Victory for an 'outsider'
Senior Congress leader VS Ugrappa, though an outsider, from Valmiki community contested from Bellary against the local leadership. The choice of Ugrappa, a loyalist of former CM Siddaramaiah, was announced after the party leadership failed to zero in on a suitable local candidate. VS Ugrappa polled 628365 votes and former MP J Shantha got 385204 votes. Ugrappa won by the margin of 2,43,161 votes. Though he was confident but did not expect this wave against the BJP.
Congress tastes success after 14 years
After Kolur Basavanagoud won the bypoll (The bypoll was held after Sonia Gandhi vacated the seat.) in 2000. VS Ugrappa became the first Congress leader to win Bellary. BJP ha won here in 2004, 2009, and Srirmulu had won in 2014. The defeated candidate J Shantha had won Bellary in 2009.
DK Shivakumar in charge
Minister DK Shivakumar, who is also minister in-charge of Bellary, was made in-charge of the Bellary Lok Sabha seat after the EC announcement election dates. The victory in Bellary surely strengthens his position in the party. In fact, the Congress's decision to entrust Shivakumar, with the responsibility of ensuring its victory in the constituency reportedly did not go down well with party MLAs loyal to the Jarkiholi brothers. According to reports, ST MLAs, who are staunch loyalists of the brothers, were unhappy with the party giving the responsibility of selecting an ST candidate for the constituency, which is reserved for the community.
Bellary not a JDS base:
Unlike Mandya, Bellary is not a bastion of one particular party. In fact, the JDS has no base in Bellary parliamentary constituency. The district has 3 BJP and 6 Congress MLAs. Thus, this is really a big victory for the Congress. However, top JD(S) leaders, including former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda and Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy campaigned for the Congress candidate in Bellary.