A leader who never tasted electoral defeat, a former prime minister, a seven-time member of Parliament, are just some of the giants in Karnataka politics who were swept away by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wave blowing across the country. The saffron party won 25 of the 28 Lok Sabha seats when results were declared on Thursday.
Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, had never lost an election since 1972. That was till he was defeated by BJP’s Umesh Jadhav, a rebel Congress leader, in the Gulbarga seat on Thursday. Jadhav won by 95,453 votes. Kharge had won nine consecutive assembly elections and two consecutive Lok Sabha elections in 2009 and 2014.
Kharge’s colleague KH Muniyappa had won seven consecutive Lok Sabha elections from Kolar beginning 1991, was defeated by BJP’s S Muniswamy, a corporator from Bengaluru, by a margin of 2.09 lakh votes.
In Chikkaballapur, former chief minister and union minister M Veerappa Moily of the Congress lost to BJP’s BN Bache Gowda by a margin of around 1.82 lakh votes.
In all three cases, the seniors were hit by dissension from within the ranks.
Muniyappa faced anti-incumbency from within his party and local leaders had petitioned the party not to give him a ticket. A senior BJP leader said, on condition of anonymity, that local Congress MLAs had helped the BJP candidate, an unknown in state politics, win there.
Former prime minister HD Deve Gowda too was unable to buck the trend. He lost to BJP’s GS Basavaraj by a margin of 12,387 votes in Tumkur, a seat he shifted to after leaving his home turf Hassan to his grandson Prajwal Revanna.
The Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress coalition had allotted the Tumkur seat to the JD(S) overlooking the claim of its incumbent MP SP Muddahanumegowda. This had caused dissidence within the Congress, with the latter even filing nominations as an independent. As a result, the coalition could not ensure transfer of votes. Gowda’s other grandson Nikhil Kumaraswamy was another big loser of the day.
He lost to independent candidate Sumalatha, who was backed by the BJP, in the Mandya constituency by a margin of 1.25 lakh votes. A high-stakes battle emerged in Mandya and Sumalatha received the tacit support of Congress leaders from the district. As a result, Nikhil was unable to convert his advantage
May 24, 2019 04:29 IST
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