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  • ଓଡ଼ିଆରେ ପଢନ୍ତୁ

In what is being seen as a bittersweet result for the ruling BJP in Karnataka, the saffron party won the Sindgi assembly segment, but lost the Hangal seat to Congress, in the bypolls to two constituencies held on October 30.

The BJP's loss in Hangal is also seen as a "setback" to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, as it is the neighbouring constituency to his Shiggaon assembly segment in Haveri district, where he had extensively campaigned.

This was also the first major electoral challenge for Bommai, after taking charge as CM in July this year.

While, the Congress, which seemed to be satisfied with its performance, tried to project the results as a precursor to the 2023 assembly polls, JD(S) that had fielded Muslim candidates in both constituencies, camea distant third, and even lost the deposits.

According to results announced by the Election Commission of India on Tuesday, Ramesh Bhusanur of BJP won in Sindgi seat by a margin of 31,185 votes, by securing 93,865 votes, while his closest rival Congress' Ashok Managuli secured 62,680 votes.

In Hangal, Congress' Srinivas Mane won by a margin of 7,373 votes, securing 87,490 votes, while his closest rival Shivaraj Sajjanar of BJP bagged 80,117 votes.

JD(S)' Naziya Shakeel Ahmed Angadi from Sindgi and Niyaz Shaikh from Hangal came a distant third, by securing 4,353 and 927 votes respectively.

The bypolls for two seats was necessitated as they had fallen vacant, following the death of Sindgi JD(S) legislator M C Managuli and BJP's C M Udasi from Hangal.

With the loss in Hangal being projected as a setback to him, CM Bommai said, "Elections are won and lost....these bye-elections are fought on particular time and issues, and its outcome is not a complete verdict. However, I have taken this election setback very seriously and we will do all the corrections."

Stating that the BJP will make all the preparations for the 2023 general elections, while asserting that the bypoll results will not have any impact on it, he said, "We will take the loss seriously and take all the necessary measures politically and administratively to convert the loss into win."

Coming to Bommai's defence, state BJP strongman and former CM B S Yediyurappa said there was no question of raising doubts on Chief Minister's leadership, as the bypolls was fought under collective leadership, and that the loss or win should be shared equally without holding any one person responsible for it.

"Party will introspect about the loss in Hangal. We will rectify the shortcomings if any," he said, as he asked Congress leaders not to rejoice as though they have made a great achievement, and asserted that BJP will win more than 140 seats in 2023 assembly polls and come to power.

BJP's inability to retain Hangal is seen as a setback to Bommai personally, considering his personal relationship with the segment, from where his wife and few other family members hail, him campaigning there for about 10 days, and deputing at least 10 ministers for ensuring party's victory there.

Citing BJP's loss of credibility for its defeat in Hangal, Congress' Karnataka working president Saleem Ahmed, who was in-charge for the bypolls, said, after losing in 2018, Mane (the Congress candidate) had stayed amidst people of the constituency, and tried to address their issues and concerns, which helped him win.

Bommai too, while conceding that BJP's inability to shift late MLA C M Udasi's personal vote base to the party candidate led to its defeat, said people also have recognised Congress candidate Mane's work during COVID times.

Further, pointing out that in Mane's victory, Congress has ensured election of a non-Lingayat in a Lingayat-dominated seat, a senior party functionary, on condition of anonymity, said, "all sections have voted for Congress. There is 60,000-strong Lingayat votes, we have got major chunk of it and there is consolidation of Muslim votes in our favour, which has put the party in the advantage position."

Congress leaders also seemed to be satisfied with the party's performance in the bypolls, as it has succeeded in snatching away Hangal seat from the BJP, while improving its performance in Sindgi, where it was in the third spot, after 2018 assembly polls.

State Congress Chief D K Shivakumar said the results of this bypolls indicate that people of the state are desiring for a change in the state, they have lost faith in the BJP and are looking towards Congress, "so in 2023 it will be the administration of the people through Congress."

Terming defeat in Hangal as "loss of face" not only for CM, but the entire BJP government, he said, compared to previous elections, the Congress was satisfied with the results in Sindgi, despite losing it.

Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah terming the bypolls results as "warning bell" to the ruling BJP said, it shows that people are desiring for change, and BJP's image and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's popularity is coming down.

He also felt that lack of coordination or understanding between party workers and those who came from JD(S) with Ashok Managuli (when he switched the party), might have led to Congress' loss in Sindgi.

Despite actively campaigning for bypolls, especially in Sindgi, regional party, the JD(S), could not make much impact in the bypolls.

Noting that party has lost deposit in both Sindgi and Hangal assembly segments, its leader H D Kumaraswamy, however, said, he has not lost hope and the complete focus will now be on coming to power independently after 2023 assembly polls, by strengthening the party organisation.

"This bypolls will not have any impact on assembly polls", he said, adding that he does not give much importance to bypolls, but felt let down by the performance in Sindgi, and blamed bad organisational strength and money power of other parties for it.

An estimated 69.47 per cent voter turnout was recorded in Sindgi assembly constituency, while it was 83.76 per cent in Hangal segment during the October 30 voting.

A total of 19 candidates were in the fray in the two constituencies, including six from Sindgi and 13 from Hangal. Two candidates from Sindgi were women.

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