Congress candidate Siddaramaiah emerged victorious in a tight contest in the crucial Badami Assembly constituency with the incumbent chief minister edging past BJP's B Sreeramulu by 1,696 votes.
Based on Election Commision data, Siddaramiah received 67,599 votes as against Sreeramulu who received 65,903 votes. JD(S) candidate Hanamant Mavinmarad, finished way behind in the race in third place with 24,484 votes. Earlier, speaking with PTI, he had said, "Both Siddaramaiah and Sriramulu are outsiders. I will win with a good margin."
Badami, which has a population of over 3.3 lakh (census 2011), had an electorate of 1,96,673 in 2013. It was a crucial contest for the Congress as it has a significant presence of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes Muslims and other backward castes — the bedrock of Siddaramaiah's support base.
Siddaramaiah managed to beat Sriramulu, a confidant of the resourceful and controversial Reddy brothers, whose running had turned Badami into a big-ticket battle. For Sriramulu too, Badami was the second constituency. The BJP's deputy chief ministerial candidate had contested from Molakalmuru in Chitradurga district as well.
Former minister and five-time Badami Congress MLA, BB Chimmanakatti, who is ailing, was reluctant to give up his seat initially but eventually fell in line. Prior to voting, Congress leaders decided to field Siddaramaiah as they felt that his presence would encourage the fence-sitters to vote for the party.
This is the second consecutive election where a Congress candidate has won in Badami. Congress candidate Chimmanakatti Balappa Bhimappa had won in 2013.
Siddaramiah's decision to contest from the constituency along with Chamundeshwari, meanwhile, did not fare as well with him looking all set to suffer a defeat at the hands of GT Deve Gowda.
At last count, Gowda had established an unassailable lead in Chamundeswari, looking all set to beat Siddaramaiah by an emphatic margin.
Gowda claimed that the people had "rejected" the Karnataka chief minister. "He (Siddaramaiah) lost because of his attitude, because of attacking everyone and because of his loose talk," he was quoted as saying by ANI.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: May 15, 2018 15:28 PM