CHIKMAGALUR: In what was believed to be an election watched at the national level, the Congress wrested the Chikmagalur Lok Sabha seat from the BJP, which held it since 1998.
The election was held in the constituency that was vacated by D V Sadananda Gowda after he became chief minister. K Jayaprakash Hegde walked away with a lead of 46,007 votes.
Political analysts said former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa’s absence from the political scene and the humiliation meted out to him by the party high command, and shifting allegiance of the Lingayats, who supported the BJP in the previous election, made a dent on BJP votes.
The campaign led by Union ministers, state leaders and the local party workers apart, Jayaprakash Hegde’s untainted image and his clout with the people of the constituency even after his defeat in 2009 helped the Congress win.
Despite there were rumours that Yeddyurappa would campaign till the day before the polling day to keep the Lingayats in good humour, he did not turn up. Gowda’s statement saying the election would be fought on the strength of organisation had its impact on the voters.
Apart from this, the Congress carried out a systematic campaign against the BJP government. Controversies and internal conflicts of the BJP are said to have led to its defeat.
Congress leaders said the results would be a major setback for Gowda and his party. It is said that Yeddyurappa may mount pressure on the high command for a suitable position in the party on the ground that the election in his absence was a debacle.