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Karnataka Results: Rape-Accused NDA Candidate Prajwal Revanna Loses From Hassan

After being on the run from the authorities, the suspended JD(S) leader was arrested on 31 May at Bengaluru airport.

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Elections
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Suspended Janata Dal (Secular) leader and joint BJP-JD(S) candidate Prajwal Revanna, arrested in connection with multiple allegations of sexual abuse, lost to Congress' Shreyas Gowda Reddy from the Hassan Lok Sabha constituency in Karnataka.

As of 6:10 pm, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has won one seat and is leading in 19 others. The Congress is leading in 2 seats.

Revanna, grandson of JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda, lost by over 42,649 votes, Election Commission data showed. Congress' Shreyas Gowda Patel, gained over 6.2 lakh votes.

With Patel's victory, the Congress has got hold of the constituency after a gap of 25 years. In 1999, Shreyas Patel's grandfather G Puttaswamy Gowda defeated former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda. Both families have been political rivals for nearly five decades.

It is important to note that Hassan is dominated by the Vokkaliga community which the Deve Gowda family belongs to. The videos of the alleged sexual assault by Revanna were released in the week ahead of the first phase of the Karnataka elections on 26 April.

After being on the run from the authorities, the MP was arrested at Bengaluru airport in the early hours of 31 May. In 2019, Revanna defeated the BJP's A Manju Hassan by a margin of 1.4 lakh votes. Back then, the JD(S) and BJP were not in alliance.

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What Is Prajwal Revanna Accused of?

In the week leading to 26 April, multiple videos surfaced in Hassan of Revanna allegedly raping, sexually abusing and filming several women surfaced, sparking a row in Karnataka.

Hours after polling concluded, the 33-year-old fled to Germany on his diplomatic passport.

Soon after, three FIRs against Prajwal, based on complaints by survivors of the assault. His father HD Revanna, meanwhile, was arrested for 'kidnapping' a woman who was allegedly sexually assaulted by Prajwal. He was later let out on bail.

The case against Prajwal Revanna had been registered under Sections 354A (sexual harassment), 354D (stalking), 506 (criminal intimidation), and 509 (outraging the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). 

In one of the FIRs accessed by The Quint, one of the survivors alleged:

"After four months of joining, Revanna kept calling me to his room. There were six women workers in the house, and everyone said that they were scared when Prajwal Revanna came home. The male workers in the house also alerted the women workers to be careful... Whenever [HD] Revanna's wife wasn't there, he used to call the women to the storeroom and touch them while giving them fruits. He used to remove saree pins and used to sexually assault women."

This led to a huge political storm between the Congress and the BJP in Karnataka. The Congres questioned the BJP and the JD(S) about giving a ticket to Prajwal Revanna from Hassan, despite knowing about the videos.

Though Hassan voted before the videos went viral, this issue was spoken about widely during the campaigns before the second phase of the Karnataka elections on 7 May.

Soon after, the JD(S) suspended and expelled Revanna, with former PM Deve Gowda saying, "His suspension is till the investigation is completed."

In May, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) moved to cancel the diplomatic passport of Revanna based on a request for the same by Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah.

"I apologise to my parents... I was depressed. On Friday, 31 May, at 10 am I will appear before the SIT and provide all information related to the investigation. I will cooperate with the SIT. I have faith in the judiciary,"
Prajwal Revanna had said in what appeared to be a self-shot video.

After evading arrest for a month, he returned from Germany last week and was subsequently arrested by a Special Investigation Team. After being produced before a magistrate court, he was sent to SIT custody for seven days.

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