After two decades, Congress regains lost glory in Chikkamagaluru

The constituency is known for giving former PM Indira Gandhi political rebirth in 1979, since then its strong bastion of the Grand Old Party.
Folk artistes perform during Congress’s celebrations after the party’s win in Assembly elections in Bengaluru on Saturday. (Photo | PTI)
Folk artistes perform during Congress’s celebrations after the party’s win in Assembly elections in Bengaluru on Saturday. (Photo | PTI)

CHIKKAMAGALURU: After nearly two decades, Congress made a clean sweep in the assembly elections in Chikkamagaluru, regaining its old glory. The BJP had four MLAs, C T Ravi from Chikkamagaluru, M P Kumaraswamy from Mudigere, Belli Prakash from Kadur and D S Suresh from Tarikere, after the 2018 assembly polls. From 1989 to 1999, C R Sagir Ahmad won successively from Chikkamagaluru and had been minister twice. In 1999, C R Sagir Ahmad, D B Chandre Gowda and Motamma were cabinet ministers in the S M Krishna Ministry. 

After former PM Indira Gandhi contested from Chikkamagaluru in 1979 and won, the district became a strong bastion of the Congress and it gave a political rebirth to Indira Gandhi. From 2004, the BJP gained a foothold in the district which was otherwise electing Congress, JDS and independent candidates. The Datta Peeta Liberation Movement, Dattamala Abhiyan, Shobha Yatra and Dharma Sansad helped the BJP to increase its votes in Chikkamagaluru, Mudigere and Karkala.

But, the 2023 assembly election turned out to be waterloo for the BJP. BJP candidates C T Ravi and Belli Prakash were beaming with confidence in victory. On Friday, Ravi had told the media that he would garner over one lakh votes and win by 35,000 votes. Since the Congress wave was blowing, all five BJP candidates were humbled in the district. 

Sitting BJP MLAs C T Ravi, Belli Prakash and D S Suresh lost to H D Thammaiah, K S Anand and former MLA G H Srinivas, respectively. BJP MLA M P Kumaraswamy was denied a ticket and he quit the party and joined the JDS. He contested on the JDS ticket but finished third. BJP candidate Deepak Doddaiah lost to Congress candidate Nayana, daughter of former MLA Motamma. In Tarikere, BJP candidate D S Suresh was defeated by former MLA G H Srinivas, though Congress rebel H M Gopkrishna divided party votes. 

Last time loser and Congress candidate K S Anand wrested the seat from Belli Prakash. Sringeri witnessed a neck-to-neck fight ultimately victory going in favour of Congress candidate T D Raje Gowda. Raje Gowda defeated D N Jeevaraj by 153 votes.

Congress shattered the two-decade hold of BJP in Kodagu district. Once an impeccable fort of the BJP, Kodagu has now opened its arms to the fresh faces of Congress who won with over 4,000 margins in Madikeri and Virajpet constituencies. Congress candidate Dr Mantar Gowda was leading since the first round of counting in Madikeri. Congress candidate A S Ponnanna said, ”People wanted change and Congress provided it. The language used by the BJP during their campaign in Kodagu was unacceptable. However, BJP defamed our families and stooped very low.”

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