Karnatka,25 May: In a landmark victory heralding its emergence as a ruling party in the South, the BJP on Sunday stormed to power in Karnataka on its own but fell short of majority by just three seats.
Often taunted as a party of the cowbelt, the BJP rode on a saffron surge to secure 110 seats in the 224-member assembly, bettering its performance in the 2004 elections when it had emerged as the single largest party with 79 seats.Putting up a spectacular show in virtually all the regions of the state, BJP shattered predictions of a severely hung house. Its chief ministerial face, 66 year old B S Yeddyurappa, campaigning on a sympathy factor of having been dislodged from power by JD(S), will be sworn in as Chief Minister on 28th May.He will be formally elected of BJP legislature party on Monday.
The saffron party added 31 seats more to its kitty compared to the 2004 polls by making its presence felt across the state without being confined to any pockets of influence like before. It also consolidated its base in the backward Hyderabad-Karnataka and Bombay-Karnataka regions of the state.
The Congress performed better bagging 80 seats, 15 more than the previous elections but could not stop the victory march of the saffron party.
The JD(S) headed by former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda was decimated at the hustings. The party lost 30 seats from the previously held 58 seats but his two sons H D Kumaraswamy, former Chief Minister, and H D Revanna won.
Buoyed by the victory, the BJP leadership said it has made the party a frontrunner in the race for power in the next Lok Sabha elections.
From a party with 18 seats that brought in the first non-Congress government in Karnataka in 1983 under Ramakrishna Hegde, the BJP’s electoral graph has risen steadily on the back of the Hindutva agenda in the wake of Ramjanambhoomi movement of the early 90s.
Yeddyurappa overcame Congress and JD(S) backing for his rival S Bangarappa who tasted his first defeat in assembly election by losing in Shikaripura. The two parties did not field their candidates in support of Bangarappa.
The BJP veteran, who suffered the ignominy of being the shortest-serving Chief Minister of the state for seven days last year following a flip-flop relationship with JD(S) which pulled the rug from under his feet.
"It is a historic win. We are happy that the people have reposed faith in BJP and me. It is a humbling experience. We will strive for all round development of Karnataka." said a beaming Yeddyurappa who was born in a farmers’ family.
Congress heavyweights N Dharam Singh, eyeing a ninth straight win from Jewargi, R V Deshpande and H K Patil, actor Ambareesh and former Chief Minister S Bangarappa were among the prominent losers in the face of the saffron surge.
It also swept aside fringe players like BSP, SP, JD(U) and local Kannada Chalavali Party which all drew blank.Others, including a lone CPI(M) winner, accounted for remaining six seats.
Karnataka was the first state to hold elections after delimitation of constituencies.BJP’s National General Secretary H N Ananthkumar told reporters in Bangalore that the BJP will meet Governor Rameshwar Thakur on Monday to formally stake its claim for forming government in the state.
Yeddyurappa, who won from Shikaripura in Shimoga district beating Samajwadi Party’s S Bangarappa by 45,227 votes, said "it was the dream of Atalji and Advani to install a BJP government in the south. That has come true today".
The saffron party expressed confidence about getting support from some of the six successful independents to cobble up a majority.Party sources said its rebels in Kanakagiri and Hosadurga, who had won as independents, would support BJP in government formation.
BJP state unit President D V Sadananda Gowda said some of the independents have evinced interest in extending support.The BSP, which fielded candidates in all but six of the 224 constituencies, failed to open its account. JD(U), which bagged five seats in the previous elections, and Bangarappa’s Samajwadi party drew a blank.
According to preliminary analysis, BSP has cut into the vote share of Congress in some constituencies.The BJP performed creditably in the IT capital Bangalore where it won 17 of the 28 seats at stake pushing Congress (10) to the second position. In the previous elections, the BJP just had a couple of seats.
Former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy of JD(S) won the Ramanagaram seat for the second time beating nearest BJP rival M Rudresh. Congress’s Mamata Nichhani, daughter of former Chief Minister Ramakrishna Hegde, came third.
Deshpande, a former minister, lost the Haliyal seat to JD(S)’s Sunil Hegde by a margin of 5,425 votes.KPCC President M Mallikarjun Kharge won by 17,456 votes.
Congress party’s Ambareesh (Srirangapatna) lost to his nearest JD-S rival while former Deputy Chief Minister M P Prakash, also of Congress, lost to sitting BJP MP from Bellary G Karunakara Reddy from Harappanahalli.
Former Deputy Chief Minister Siddaramiah won from the newly carved Varuna by a margin of over 18,000 votes.Courtsey : DD NEWS