Bengaluru: A minute after Congress-JDS combine candidate VS Ugrappa established a huge lead of almost two lakh votes over BJP candidate and former MP J Shantha, former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah tweeted that “people of Bellary have returned to light from darkness on the day of Deepavali” referring to the mining mafia rule of BJP’s Reddys and B Sriramulu.
In Bellary, not a single BJP leader or any member from the Reddy family came out of their house after they realised that the Congress has snatched their seat by a big margin after 14 years. The mood at the BJP state headquarters is also sombre after the ruling JDS-Congress combine managed to win four out of five seats by a huge margin.
The winning margin of the Congress seems to have shocked the saffron party which is gearing up for the general elections due early next year.
When the Election Commission of India (ECI) declared bypolls to three Lok Sabha seats — Shimoga, Bellary and Mandya — the Congress did not even have a strong candidate in Bellary. After a lot of deliberations, they finally fielded an “outsider” and MLC VS Ugrappa from there even ruffling some feathers.
The Congress troika of Siddaramaiah, Dinesh Gundurao and DK Shivakumar came out with a plan to beat the BJP in Reddys fiefdom. They deployed over 80 small and big leaders across the mineral rich district to reach out to voters. They also ironed out the differences among Congress MLAs from the Bellary.
The BJP campaign was led by B Sriramulu and Reddy brothers. Even though other BJP leaders including B S Yeddyurappa also campaigned for the party, it was finally a Reddy brothers centric election.
After the results, Sriramulu said that defeat is always an orphan and he will take responsibility for that. He even blamed Congress’ election in charge Shivakumar for the humiliating defeat for BJP. The local Congress workers maintain that big Bellary win is the result of a collective work and the party should take full credit for that. Endorsing their views Shivakumar also said that it was not his win and the victory of Congress and JDS workers.
He also dropped a bombshell that an overconfident BJP had renewed its efforts to topple the coalition government on Monday evening and after the resounding thrashing they should give up such illegal things.
“People say I won this election for the party. I was the in charge. But the credit should go to all Congress and JDS workers,” he said speaking to News18.
The KPCC president Dinesh Gundurao, who actually persuaded all local leaders to accept Ugrappa’s candidature, has hailed the victory as historic.
The JDS supremo HD Deve Gowda and chief minister H D Kumaraswamy have also described the Bellary win as the beginning of the end of BJP rule in the state.
The Reddy brothers were ignored till the recent Assembly elections. They staged a comeback closer to elections and managed to win a few seats. They had also played a major role in “buying” Congress-JDS MLAs during Yeddyurappa’s 56-hour rule.
After Tuesday’s defeat, the Reddys and Sriramulu will find it difficult to retain their primacy in the politics of Bellary that they used to control like medieval age rulers.