City sees big margin gains for BJP

Results will have a bearing on the BBMP council and standing committees

The results of the bypolls in the four Assembly constituencies in the city – K.R. Puram, Yeshwantpur, Mahalakshmi Layout, Shivajinagar – did not spring a surprise. Three incumbent MLAs S.T. Somashekhar (Yeshwantpur), B.A. Basavaraju (K.R. Puram) and K. Gopalaiah (Mahalakshmi Layout) retained their seats, albeit donning different party colours. The three, who were earlier with the Congress, won from the BJP this time.

In Shivajinagar constituency, the incumbent MLA R. Roshan Baig, who was disqualified, did not contest. But Rizwan Arshad ensured that Congress retained the seat.

According to political watchers, the results are not surprising, but what is interesting are the large victory margins. The victory margins in Mahalakshmi Layout and K.R. Puram constituencies are more than 50,000. The highest victory margin among the 15 constituencies that went to polls in the State was in K.R. Puram (63,443).

The victory in the three constituencies is being attributed to the united front put up by the BJP. Though many party workers in the BJP had openly expressed dissent over the party fielding MLAs who had defected from Congress and Janata Dal (S), the party managed to quell any opposition and rebellion.

BJP’s Bengaluru spokesperson N.R. Ramesh told The Hindu that with the victory in three constituencies, the party has increased its vote share in the city. Citing the example of Yeshwantpur constituency, he said the victory margin in the 2018 Assembly election between Mr. Somashekhar, who was then in Congress, and T.N. Javarayi Gowda from Janata Dal (S) was around 10,000. This time around, the margin increased to over 27,000.

However, sources within the BJP claimed that despite the victory, many party workers are a disgruntled lot.

“The three MLAs and their followers, who have recently come into the party fold, will be given preferential treatment now, given the victory. This will affect long-time party workers and candidates from BJP who have had to make way for the victorious MLAs and their followers (councillors) and former councillors,” sources said.

Local ramifications

The bypoll results will have an impact on the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) council. The BJP, with a strength of 102, had wrested power from the Congress-JD(S) alliance. The party had secured the support of eight independent candidates to increase its strength in the council.

Party sources in the BBMP told The Hindu that with the MLAs retaining the seats, their followers are vying for plum positions in the Standing Committees of the BBMP. The elections to the 12 Standing Committees are yet to be held. They were earlier scheduled for December 4. However, with councillors giving the elections a miss, the Regional Commissioner had no option but to adjourn the polls.

Sources said of the 12 committees, Town Planning, Taxation and Finance, Major Works, will be given to followers of the MLAs who have won. Initially, the BJP had promised the post of chairperson of a few committees to independent councillors. However, with the bypoll results, that seems unlikely.

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