BJP wins Sira assembly seat in Karnataka for first time

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Bengaluru, Nov 10 (PTI) The ruling BJP in Karnataka created history of sorts by bagging the Sira assembly segment in Tumakuru district for the first time with party candidate C M Rajesh Gowda emerging the winner in the recent byelection.

Gowda defeated his closest Congress rival T B Jayachandra, a six-time MLA and former minister, by a margin of over 12,000 votes, officials said.

JD(S) that had won the seat in the 2018 assembly elections has been relegated to third place.

The bypoll, held on November 3, has been necessitated in Sira following the death of JD(S) MLA B Sathyanarayana in August.

Apparently eyeing sympathy votes, the JD(S) had fielded Ammajamma B, wife of Sathyanarayana.

BJP's Rajesh Gowda is a radiologist and the son of former Congress MP C P Mudalagiriyappa and had recently joined the ruling party.

His win is significant as this is the first ever success for the BJP in Sira, which falls in old Mysuru region, where the party had been weak traditionally.

With its negligible presence in the constituency where Congress and JD(S) had been the traditional rivals, the BJP had not polled more than 24,000 votes in the past.

After winning K R Pet and Chikkaballapura assembly seats in December 2019 bypolls, the BJP has been focussing on making further inroads in the old Mysuru region.

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa's son and state BJP Vice President B Y Vijayendra, who played a key role in winning K R Pet in 2019, along with other leaders had camped in Sira to ensure the party's victory.

This win will add another feather to his cap, with him being seen as Yediyurappa's political heir, sources said.

BJP was a distant third in the 2018 assembly polls by securing only 16,959 votes in Sira.

Sathyanarayana had then defeated Jayachandra of the Congress.

Jayachandra was the candidate this time too and AICC general secretary in-charge of Karnataka Randeep Singh Surjewala had reportedly expressed his reservations to the state unit leaders about the choice. PTI KSU VS VS