Bengaluru: When it comes to politics, loyalty pays. The results of the Karnataka Assembly elections certainly suggest so. A number of political leaders who switched sides ahead of the Karnataka Assembly elections had to taste defeat, with businessman-turned-MLA Ashok Kheny and prominent Janata Dal (Secular) rebel N Chaluvarayaswamy among nearly a dozen netas who failed to bag the popular vote.
At least 50 political leaders crossed over to other parties in the run-up to the elections. Some prominent leaders left the BJP and Congress to join the JD(S) even as seven MLAs from the JD (S) defected to Congress.
Former MLA from Basavakalyana Assembly constituency, Mallikarjuna Khuba, who left JD (S) to fight on a BJP ticket lost to Congress candidate B Narayana Rao. His defection is being seen as the primary reason for his defeat.
Another prominent JD(S) rebel N Chaluvarayaswamy, who contested on a Congress ticket in Nagamangala constituency in Mandya district, was defeated by JD (S) candidate Suresh Gowda by a comfortable margin of 47,667 votes.
It was sweet revenge for JD (S) in Magadi seat in Ramanagaram district as well where former MLA HC Balakrishna lost to JD (S) candidate A Manjunath by 51,425 votes.
Grass greener on the other side? Not quite
Meanwhile, three out of seven rebel JD (S) MLAs, who had joined Congress, secured their seats in the elections. Among them R Akhanda Srinivas Murthy won from reserved constituency of Pulakeshinagar in Bengaluru district while Bheema Naik registered a stunning victory in the Hagaribommanahalli (SC) seat where he bagged 78,337 votes as opposed to 5,100 votes secured by S Krushna Naik from the JD (S) and 17,058 votes secured by independent candidate Paramesh Wara L.
BZ Zameer Ahmed was re-elected from Chamrajpet in Bengaluru banking on his minority vote base. Khan had famously said that he would cut off his head if a JD(S) candidate managed to win from Chamrajpet.
Among those for whom the wheel of fortune turned – for the worse – are Bidar South MLA and businessman Ashok Kheny who was pushed to the third position in this election. Kheny, considered arch-rival of former Prime Minister Deve Gowda, fought on a Congress ticket but lost to Bandeppa Kashappanavar of JD(S).
Kheny's popularity was likely dented as he is the managing director of Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise Limited (NICE), the implementing agency of the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project, which is mired in allegations of irregularities. Kheny polled 35,131 votes in the recent elections against 47,763 votes in 2013.
Another prominent leader to bite the dust was six-time MLA Malikayya Guttedar who shifted to the BJP from Congress and lost the Afzalpur constituency in Kalaburagi district. Guttedar's rivalry with Congress leader in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge led him to switch sides.
Guttedar had quit Congress after blaming Kharge for sidelining him during cabinet expansion to favour his son and minister Priyank Kharge, a first-time MLA from Chittapur. Guttedar lost to Congress candidate MY Patil by over 10,000 votes.
Among the 'serial party hoppers', sitting MLA and BJP candidate CP Yogeshwar was defeated from Channapatna seat by the former chief minister and JD(S) state president HD Kumaraswamy. Yogeshwar, a popular Vokkaliga leader, had contested on a Samajwadi Party ticket and won in 2013. He joined the Congress later and then moved to the BJP ahead of the 2018 Assembly elections.
But another 'serial hopper' rebel Congress MLA AS Patil Nadahalli fared better and won from Muddebihal in Bijapur district. He joined JD (S) a few months before the announcement of Assembly elections and pledged loyalty to the BJP a few days before the state went to polls. He had cited JD (S) leadership's refusal to give a ticket to his wife to contest in the Assembly elections as the reason for his defection.
Anand Singh, a former BJP legislator and one of the richest politicians in India who had refused to toe the party line and supported the state government’s decision to celebrate Tipu Jayanti and later joined Congress, won from Vijayanagara by polling 83,214 votes against BJP nominee HR Gaviyappa who received 74,986 votes. Gaviyappa, a former Congress MLA, had joined the BJP in protest against induction of Singh into the party fold.
Meanwhile, B Nagendra, an Independent MLA from Kudligi (ST), contested on Congress ticket from Bellary and clinched a victory.
Among those who lost are Varthur Prakash, who formed the Namma Congress after being denied entry into Congress. He was defeated in Kolar seat by JD(S) candidate K Srinivas Gowda. P Ramesh, who moved to JD(S) from Congress after he was denied a ticket from CV Raman Nagar constituency, was also defeated. Ramesh received 20,478 votes against 46,660 votes clinched by Congress candidate R Sampath Raj and 58,887 votes polled by BJP candidate S Raghu.
Actor-cum-politician and former MP Shashi Kumar who recently rejoined JD(S) suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of BJP candidate in Hosadurga constituency. He received only 1,575 votes against 64,570 votes polled by BG Govindappa of Congress and 90,562 votes bagged by Gulihatti D Shekhar of the BJP.
The author is a Bengaluru-based freelance writer and a member of 101Reporters.com, a pan-India network of grassroots reporters.
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Updated Date: May 16, 2018 15:33:18 IST