Bangalore, Aug 24 (PTI): The ruling Congress in Karnataka on Saturday wrested the Mandya and Bangalore Rural Lok Sabha seats from it with impressive margins in the fiercely fought bypolls.
Multi-lingual actress Ramya on her electoral debut defeated C S Puttaraju of Janata Dal (Secular) in Mandya, the nucleus of his party's Vokkaliga vote base, by a margin of 67,611 votes, officials said.
In Bangalore Rural, it was a spectacular victory for Congress and heartbreaking defeat for JDS as former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy's wife Anitha Kumaraswamy lost by a huge margin of over 1.37 lakh votes to ruling party's D K Suresh, brother of state party leader D.K.Shivakumar.
Kumaraswamy, son of former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, had held the Bangalore Rural seat before he gave it up after winning the May Assembly polls and the Gowda family had invested all its prestige into the battle. He had won the seat by over 1.3 lakh votes in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
JDS had struck an understanding with the BJP, which did not field candidates in both the constituencies where it wields no significant electoral influence.
Electoral officials said Suresh polled 5,78,608 votes against Anitha Kumaraswamy's 4,41,601 votes. In Mandya, Ramya secured 4,84,085 votes against her opponent's 4,16,474 votes.
The poll outcome comes to the Congress just days after it celebrated 100 days in office still euphoric over its spectacular victory in the May Assembly polls that catapulted it to power with absolute majority, unseating BJP.
For Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, the result has come as a big boost to consolidate his position as an adverse outcome would have given a handle to a section of his own partymen not happy with his style of functioning.
The August 21 bypoll had also almost turned into an arena for scoring personal points for both Siddaramaiah and Kumaraswamy who made no-holds-barred attack against each other.
Siddaramaiah said JDS had been taught a lesson by voters who also saw through the JDS' alliance with BJP and KJP of former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa.
In an immediate fallout, Kumaraswamy met Deve Gowda and conveyed his decision to step down as state unit chief and as opposition leader in the Assembly. “I underwent a cardiac surgery and maybe, the voters thought I need rest,” he was quoted as saying emotionally by a party release.
Both Ramya and Suresh maintained convincing leads right from the beginning as the counting of votes for the by-polls was taken up this morning and gradually increased the lead to unassailable levels.
The by-poll to Mandya was necessitated following the resignation of N Cheluvarayaswamy after he became MLA.
In the May Assembly polls, JDS had won five of the eight seats in Mandya district.
In Bangalore Rural, Congress had secured the support of Samajwadi Party MLA, C P Yogeeshwara, who had defeated Anita Kumaraswamy in the May polls.