BJP’s bypoll victory a shot in the arm for embattled Yediyurappa


The BJP’s first-time victory in Sira Assembly constituency is being seen in party circles as an indication that it has started making inroads into the Vokkaliga-dominated areas

The BJP’s clean sweep of both the Assembly constituencies that saw bypolls has come as a much-needed shot in the arm for Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, who was in the dock following attacks from detractors within and outside the party speculating about a leadership change.

Even if the BJP had lost both the Rajarajeshwarinagar and Sira seats, it would not have affected the government’s stability. Similarly, the victory is not going to significantly alter the arithmetic in the Assembly. But the emphatic victory in both constituencies has turned out to be a morale booster for the 78-year-old as his government was under attack for various reasons, including the alleged mishandling of the pandemic situation, corruption in COVID-19-related purchases, and failure to properly respond to the woes of flood victims.

The convincing manner in which the party won the R.R. Nagar Assembly seat, where Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president D.K. Shivakumar had offered up stiff resistance, and also made inroads into Sira, where the BJP had not registered any victory so far, has turned out to be a shield for Mr. Yediyurappa against the attacks on his government and himself.

The BJP’s Munirathna celebrating his R.R. Nagar bypoll win with supporters in Bengaluru on Tuesday.
 
| Photo Credit:
K. MURALI KUMAR

This was evident when Mr. Yediyurappa wasted no time in using the victory as a testimony on his government’s performance. “The victory in the bypolls is an indication that government has responded to the aspirations of the people. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and floods, we have executed our responsibilities effectively,” he said. He also launched a counter-attack against the Congress by remarking that the party should learn from the defeat and try to work effectively in the Opposition.

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However, Mr. Yediyurappa’s problems are still far from over as uncertainty over whether he will complete his full term continues. This is because the expectations that regional leaders such as Mr. Yediyurappa would become stronger if the central leadership’s image gets dented in case of a defeat in Bihar Assembly polls appear to be turning false. This, BJP insiders say, has turned out to be the Sword of Damocles hanging over Mr. Yediyurappa’s head.

Meanwhile, the BJP victory in Sira, where the Chief Minister’s son and party State vice-president B.Y. Vijayendra had monitored the poll management, is being projected by Mr. Yediyurappa’s followers to foreground him as a successful poll strategist, as he had earlier contributed to the party’s win in K.R. Pet Assembly segment as well.

Making inroads

The BJP’s first-time victory in Sira Assembly constituency is being seen in party circles as an indication that it has started making inroads into the Vokkaliga-dominated areas, which had previously remained mostly unreachable for it.

“The victory is Sira, a Vokkaliga-dominated seat, has given us confidence that the party will be able to make inroads into various other Vokkaliga-dominated constituencies, particularly those in Old Mysore region, in the next general elections,” a BJP strategist said.



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Sagar Biswas

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