Bengaluru: With the ruling BJP’s defeat in Hangal Assembly constituency in the recently held bypoll seen as a ”setback” to Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, a senior Minister in his Cabinet on Wednesday claimed that the party would have won the seat with a big margin if only Bommai had sent him there in advance.
”You (some in the media) said we (BJP) will lose both seats (Hangal and Sindgi), I want to say that if the Chief Minister had sent me to Hangal three day before, we would have won by a lead of 10,000 (votes),” Housing Minister V Somanna told reporters here.
Asked whether he was upset over not having made in-charge of Hangal bypoll or those who were in-charge of the segment had not manage things well, he said, ”We have to bow to the mandate of the people, we have accepted and done that.” Meanwhile, a video surfaced in which Somanna and senior BJP MLA Basanagouda Patil Yatnal can be seen discussing, after a press conference, about the loss in Hangal, and expressing displeasure.
In the conversation telecast on Kannada news channels, Yatnal says: “You should’ve been deputed in Hangal (as in-charge)”; Somanna replies: ”Both of us were enough…” Both leaders then lament about the loss.
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While Ministers Murugesh Nirani, J C Madhuswamy, B C Patil, Shivaram Hebbar, Member of Parliament Shivakumar Udasi, and party’s State vice-president B Y Vijayendra were among the 13 in-charge of Hangal bypolls, Somanna was among those in-charge of Sindgi, where the party won.
In what is being seen as a bittersweet result for the ruling BJP in Karnataka, the saffron party won the Sindgi Assembly segment but lost the Hangal seat to Congress.
Congress’s Srinivas Mane won Hangal by a margin of 7,373 votes. He secured 87,490 votes while his closest rival Shivaraj Sajjanar of the BJP got 80,117. The bypoll was necessitated due to the death of BJP MLA C M Udasi.
The BJP’s loss in Hangal was seen as a ”setback” to Chief Minister Bommai personally, as it is the neighbouring constituency to his Shiggaon Assembly segment in Haveri district, where he had extensively campaigned, and his personal relationship with the segment as his wife and a few other family members hail from there.
This was also the first major electoral challenge for Bommai after taking charge as Chief Minister in July this year.
Bommai, soon after the poll results on November 2, had said that he has taken this election setback very seriously and will do all the corrections. The two bypolls were held on October 30.