Of historic wins and mighty falls — A lowdown on Karnataka politics in 2019

There were many firsts this year — some you wish to see time and again, and others you might want to forget.

Published: 31st December 2019 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st December 2019 06:00 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

2019 has been a roller-coaster ride for Karnataka. There were many firsts this year — some you wish to see time and again, and others you might want to forget. From change of govts to three DyCMs, from disqualified MLAs to jailed leaders, from leaders who jumped to the national scene to those who stepped down from it, from CAA protests to history-creating electoral wins to SC verdicts — 2019 has been a newsy, noisy year for the state  — ANUSHA RAVI

Congress-JDS pre-poll alliance
Bound together running a coalition government, the Congress and JDS for the very first time formed a pre-poll alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. After a hard bargain for the number of seats and constituencies, Congress settled for 20 seats and JDS got 8, one of which it returned to the Congress. The results were devastating for both parties, which managed to win one seat each.

Lok Sabha saffron sweep
The Modi-led BJP government made a grand comeback at the Centre after a thumping majority in the May 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Karnataka alone gave the BJP 25 seats of the total 28 in the state. The two-phase polls came barely months after the assembly election in Karnataka. Debutante candidates left a mark, while the mighty fell with a resounding crash.

Sumalatha scripts history
Sumalatha, who took the political plunge this year, created history with her debut. She became the first-ever woman candidate to win a Lok Sabha seat as an Independent. She took on then CM HDK’s son Nikhil  — contesting as a joint candidate of Congress and JDS — in Mandya, and won. Not to forget that Mandya is a JDS stronghold. BJP backed Sumalatha, while local Congress rebels who were unwilling to work with JDS on the ground, campaigned for her. Actors Darshan and Yash became the driving force of her campaign.

JDS third-gen makes political debut
Two grandsons of JDS patriarch HD Deve Gowda made their debut in electoral politics. While one tasted success on his grandfather’s home turf, the other was given a lesson in humility. Prajwal Revanna was fielded in Hassan — a seat that has consecutively elected Deve Gowda. Nikhil Kumaraswamy was handed a humiliating defeat in Mandya.Despite JDS MLAs in all assembly constituencies of Mandya,
Nikhil could not woo voters.

Fall of the titans
2019 broke senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge’s winning streak, leaving him defeated on home ground Gulbarga. It wasn’t just Kharge — former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, who vacated Hassan to make way for grandson Prajwal Revanna and contested from Tumkur, faced a shock defeat. Congress veterans KH Muniyappa in Kolar and Veerappa Moily in Chikkaballapur too lost their seats to BJP competitors.

Operation Kamala 2.0
Led by Gokak MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi, 15 MLAs of the Congress and JDS began shifting to hotels in Mumbai, soon after the Lok Sabha elections. Kagwad MLA Shrimant Patil was even taken away from a resort where the Congress had moved all its MLAs. Photos and videos of BJP leaders and their aides helping the disgruntled coalition MLAs board planes flying out of Bengaluru made it obvious
who was behind the scenes.

HDK fails floor test, coalition collapses
After a tumultuous one-and-a-half year in office, the JDS-Congress coalition government led by HD Kumaraswamy bit the dust in July. Kumaraswamy submitted his resignation to Governor Vajubhai Vala after he failed the floor test,with just 99 votes in his favour,as against 105 votes of the BJP ousting him.

MLAs go to SC for right to contest
The 17 rebel MLAs knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court — first, seeking directives to the Speaker to accept their resignations, and second, to quash their disqualification after the Speaker’s decision. The apex court upheld their disqualification but allowed them to contest bypolls, paving the way for them to return as members of the House they were disqualified from.

K’taka gets three DyCMs
For weeks, BSY worked singlehandedly, without a cabinet, but when the high command finally cleared the list of cabinet ministers, Yediyurappa had 3 deputies. For the first time in perhaps India’s political history, three deputy CMs were appointed. The BJP high command chose first-time minister Dr Ashwanth Narayan, Dalit face Govind Karjol and non-legislator Laxman Savadi — who was caught watching porn in the assembly -- to be DyCMs.

disqualification & resiGnation   
Acting upon complaints registered by Congress and JDS, alleging anti-party activities, then Speaker Ramesh Kumar disqualified 17 MLAs. Ramesh Jarkiholi, Mahesh Kumathalli, Shrimant Patil, Anand Singh, BC Patil, Dr Sudhakar, H Vishwanath, Narayana Gowda, Roshan Baig, Gopalaiah, ST Somashekhar, Byrathi Basavaraj, MTB Nagaraj, R Shankar, Muniratna, Pratap Gouda Patil and Shivaram Hebbar were disqualified. A day after this, Ramesh resigned as Speaker, but not before presiding over passage of the Finance Bill under BSY’s chief ministership.

DKS turns jailbird
On September 3, Congress leader DK Shivakumar was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The Vokkaliga strongman spent eight weeks in Tihar jail before being released on bail. His arrest, allegedly vindictive, sparked off anger among the Vokkaliga community who came together in a massive rally to show solidarity with Shivakumar.

ECI puts off bypolls
In an unprecedented move, the Election Commission of India put off bypolls scheduled for 15 assembly constituencies in Karnataka in 2019. Even without the Supreme Court’s direction, the ECI volunteered to postpone elections until orders were passed on the petitions of the disqualified MLAs.

BJP invades Vokkaliga turf
Creating a political milestone, the BJP made inroads into the Vokkaliga heartland in Old Mysuru, when it won KR Pete seat in the Dec bypolls. The party won 13 of the 15 seats that went to polls, but winning KR Pete essentially left the party’s footprint on unconquered land. The campaign run by BSY’s son BY Vijayendra and Hassan MLA Preetam Gowda yielded results.

Fourth time lucky for BSY?
In 2019, Lingayat strongman and BJP leader BS Yediyurappa took oath as CM of Karnataka for the fourth time. Yediyurappa, who has been CM thrice in the past, has never completed a full term in office. In 2018, when he hurriedly took oath, he was forced to resign within three days when he failed to garner a majority in the House.

BJP gets new team heads
A lot changed on BJP’s organisational front in 2019. BL Santhosh was elevated to central leadership level, with his appointment as national general secretary (organisation). Back home, as Yediyurappa took oath as CM,  BJP appointed Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel as state unit chief.

CAA protests mark holiday season
Towards the end of the year,much like other parts of the country, Karnataka witnessed demonstrations — both against and for Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens. Until the last day of the year, intellectuals, students, authors, citizen activists, senior citizens, men, women and children protested every day in different forms against CAA-NRC. They braved Section 144 and came out in hordes. In Mangaluru, two people were killed in police firing during an anti-CAA protest on December 19.

Who’s in? Who’s out?

In a year that witnessed hectic political developments and a change in government and political equations, many made it big in politics,while some in prominent positions were pushed to the fringes


BS Yediyurappa, Chief Minister  

B L Santosh, BJP National General Secretary

Nalin Kumar Kateel, BJP State President

Dr C N Ashwath Narayan,  Deputy Chief Minister

Laxman Savadi, Deputy CM

Pralhad Joshi, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs 

D K Shivakumar, Congress leader


Siddaramaiah, Former Chief Minister

Dinesh Gundu Rao, Congress leader

HD Deve Gowda, Former PM bMallikarjuna Kharge, Senior Congress leader

HD Kumaraswamy, Former CM and JDS leader

MTB Nagaraj, Former Minister

Ananth Kumar Hegde, Former Union Minister and BJP MP


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