Organisational muscle helps BJP win Assembly bypolls in Karnataka

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Bengaluru, Nov 11 (PTI) Meticulous organisational work at the ground level in Sira where the party had been traditionally weak, and fielding of 'very capable' candidate in Rajarajeshwari (RR) Nagar, ensured victory for the BJP in the bypolls to two assembly segments in Karnataka, says State BJP general secretary N Ravikumar.

A key strategist for the party for the November 3 elections, he said in Sira the party had to begin from scratch, while in RR Nagar things were a bit easy as people there had recognised the work done by the candidate.

In RR Nagar, part of Bengaluru Uran district, N Munirathna scored a hat-trick, winning by more than 58,000 votes, while it was history of sorts for the BJP as it recorded its first ever victory in Sira with Dr C M Rajesh Gowda securing the seat by a margin of over 13,400 votes.

'I was the in-charge (in Sira), we had to start from scratch. On September 1, I had gone there from that day onwards till the polls, other than a brief period during the assembly session, we gave our time there.

We reached out to 264 booths, held meetings, and gathered 50-500 activists in each booth,' Ravikumar told PTI.

The party did the groundwork meticulously by creating booth and WhatsApp committees, identified where it can get lead and where not, and held meetings to convince people to give the BJP a chance,he said.

'Organisationally we worked very well..we have built a base in Sira,' he added.

In Sira in Tumakuru district, Rajesh Gowda secured 76,564 votes, while his opponent Congress leader T B Jayachandra (71), a six time MLA and former Minister, got 63,150 votes.

The JD(S) that had won the seat in the 2018 assembly polls was relegated to the third place with the party candidate Ammajamma B (wife of late party MLA Sathyanarayana) securing 36,783 votes.

Bagging Sira is a major gain for the BJP.

With its negligible presence in the constituency where Congress and JD(S) are traditional rivals, the party had not polled more than 24,025 votes there in the past.

After winning K R Pet and Chikkaballapura assembly seats in the December 2019 bypolls, the BJP has been working hard at making further inroads in the old Mysuru region, where the party has been traditionally weak.

With the win in Sira, the J P Nadda-led party has increased its tally in the region.

Responding to a question, Ravikumar said: 'We have got votes from all communities, 75 per cent of Kadugollas have supported us, also SCs, OBCs and general category communities, while the larger share of Vokkaliga votes have gone to the JD (S).' He said 'we had an aim to get at least 10,000-12,000 Kunchitiga Vokkaliga votes, how many we have got -- Rajesh Gowda belongs to the community -- we need to check, but superficially I can say we may have got about 5000 votes from the community.' Explaining the reasons for BJP's victory in Sira, Ravikumar said the Congress and JD(S) have represented the constituency for long and have not done work there to the extent they should have.

'They have not kept up the promise of releasing water to Madalur lake, creating Kadugolla Development Corporation and development activities have been very meagre there- for example there are still large numbers of huts, no proper roads- we tried to address all of these,' he said.

Ahead of the bypolls, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had announced the setting up of a Kadugolla Development Corporation to aid the economically backward community, which has a considerable presence in Sira.

Ravikumar also said Rajesh Gowda was a new candidate without any baggage and it also helped in BJP's victory.

Along with Ravikumar, several BJP leaders including party vice-president and Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa's son B Y Vijayendra had camped in Sira to ensure a win.

Speaking about RR Nagar verdict, Ravikumar said the party did not have any doubt about winning there as it had a very capable candidate.

Pointing out that Munirathna had worked for the people of the constituency at the height of COVID pandemic, the BJP leader said he gave food kits, 25 kg rice for each poor household in the constituency.

He added that people there have recognised his work, and all partymen worked together, ironing out differences if there was any.

In RR Nagar segment, Munirathana secured 1,25,990 votes, followed by Congress Kusuma H with 67,877 votes.

JD(S) ended up a distant third with part V Krishnamurthy securing just 10,269 votes.

Munirathna, after his disqualification last year as Congress MLA, had joined the BJP.

The ruling party despite stiff resistance from a section within gave him ticket after he was cleared by the courts from the charges of alleged election malpractices.

His win is seen as a setback to the Congress, especially to its state president D K Shivakumar as the constituency comes under Bengaluru Rural Lok Sabha seat, held by his brother D K Suresh.PTI KSU RS BN WELCOME BN WELCOME