Political Triumph: Congress Secures First Victory Against BJP-JD(S) Alliance in Karnataka Legislative Council Bypoll

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Karnataka powerplay

In Karnataka, Congress Celebrates First Victory Over BJP-JD(S) Alliance in Legislative Council Bypoll

In a significant turn of events, the Karnataka Congress clinched its maiden victory against the newly formed alliance between JD(S) and BJP in the state. The triumph unfolded in a Legislative Council bypoll for the Bangalore Teachers’ seat.

P. Puttanna, the Congress candidate, emerged victorious, defeating JD(S) nominee A. P. Ranganath. Notably, the BJP had allocated this seat to its newfound ally in Karnataka as part of the pre-arranged seat-sharing agreement leading up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Ranganath, president of JD(S)’s legal cell, faced defeat after losing the previous Council election from the Teachers’ seat to Puttanna.

Puttanna’s win marked his fifth consecutive triumph in the constituency, having previously served as a BJP MLC. The bypoll was necessitated when he vacated the seat in March 2023 to contest the Assembly elections under the Congress banner, albeit unsuccessfully. Before affiliating with the BJP in 2020, Puttanna had secured victory in the Council polls three times representing JD(S).

The election results saw Puttanna securing 8,260 votes, defeating Ranganath by a margin of 1,507. Out of the total 16,063 votes cast, 10,106 were from female voters. Approximately 1,000 votes were invalidated, reducing the total valid votes. Notably, the bypoll for the Teachers’ constituency seat in the Council entailed voting by registered teachers.

D. K. Shivakumar, Karnataka Congress chief and Deputy Chief Minister, hailed the victory as a momentous occasion for the party. He emphasized that the defeat of the joint JD(S)-BJP candidate under the new alliance showcased the electorate’s rejection of the alliance. Shivakumar confidently asserted that the same sentiment would prevail in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

The bypoll, conducted on February 16, was deemed as the litmus test for the BJP-JD(S) coalition in Karnataka preceding the Lok Sabha polls. Following a request from JD(S), the BJP conceded the seat to its ally, a decision made during a January meeting between state leaders of both parties.

Despite the formidable alliance, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had expressed confidence in Congress’s triumph. He underscored Puttanna’s unparalleled track record in the constituency, having secured victory over BJP and JD(S) candidates in the past. Siddaramaiah attributed Puttanna’s success to his rapport with the teaching community, asserting their unwavering support for the Congress candidate.

However, the outcome of the bypoll will not impact the Legislative Council’s composition, where the BJP-JD(S) alliance maintains a clear majority in the 75-member House. With 34 BJP members, 29 Congress members, 8 JD(S) members, and 1 Independent member, besides the chairman and two vacant seats, the alliance retains control over the Council.