Decoding K’taka Bypolls: Yediyurappa’s Return and His Son’s Rise

Decoding K’taka Bypolls: Yediyurappa’s Return and His Son’s Rise

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Video Editor: Ashutosh Bhardwaj

After months of political uncertainty, Karnataka finally gets a stable government at the helm. Winning 12 of the 15 seats in bypolls, BJP is in a strong position in Karnataka with 118 seats. While the Congress won only 2 seats, the JD(S) saw a wipe out.

The bypoll results offer three key takeaways.
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1. The Return of Yediyurappa

Speaking at an election rally in Jharkhand, hours after the results, Narendra Modi hailed this feat of the saffron party in Karnataka. And the person who gets credit for ensuring the BJP holds on to its only bastion in the south is Chief Minister Yediyurappa.

Out of the 13 MLAs who switched camps under his watch, 11 of them held on to their seats.

“These disqualified MLAs helped me become chief minister, if you want me to continue as CM, vote for them. No Veershiva Lingayat should vote outside the party,”
Yediyurappa

And the results proved him right. The BJP won all 7 seats in north Karnataka, Yediyurappa’s long-time bastion and the home of their ever-reliable Lingayat vote bank.

In the days following his re-election, Yediyurappa was criticised as being controlled by the central command. Now he has reasserted himself as a political powerhouse capable of winning elections without a Modi wave.

After the Lok Sabha elections, there was talk of him being sidelined in the party with the RSS faction gaining control. By ensuring the bypoll victory, he has made his case stronger for remaining the CM till the end of term.

2. Rise of a New Leadership in BJP

While it was a bypoll in 2007 that gave rise to a leader like Siddaramaiah, this bypoll saw the rise of Yediyurappa’s son BY Vijayendra.

A major upset this time was in the KR Pete seat, in the Mandya region. This seat in the Old Mysuru region was considered a bastion of the JD(S). And for the first time, the BJP has emerged victorious here.

Yediyurappa’s son Vijayendra, who was assigned this uphill task of ensuring a victory in KR Pete has made a name for himself in the party. He is now being looked as a capable successor to Yediyurappa and the Lingayat vote bank.

3. The Struggling Opposition in the State

The party that lost the most on result day was the JD(S). Expected to win 2-3 seats, the JD(S) crashed out without any seats to their name. With the poor performance in Lok Sabha election and the washout in bypolls, from being a kingmaker, the JD(S) is now looking at an existential crisis.

Soon after the results of the bypolls started pouring in, senior DK Shivakumar accepted party’s defeat. Hours later, Congress Legislative party leader Siddaramaiah and KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao resigned for their failure to guide the party.

While the JD(S) and Congress is expected to do some soul-searching, the BJP is looking at ‘Achhe Din’ for the party at least for a while.

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