Setback for BJP-JDS combine as Congress wins MLC bypoll in Karnataka

Congress nominee Puttanna secured 8,260 votes and BJP-JD(S) nominee Ranganath had to settle for 6,753 votes.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published Feb 20, 2024 | 8:55 PMUpdatedFeb 20, 2024 | 8:55 PM


Following the by-poll held for the Bangalore Teachers’ Constituency, Congress nominee Puttanna was declared the winner on Tuesday, 20 February. He defeated the NDA alliance [BJP-JD(S)] candidate AP Ranganath by a margin of 1,507 votes.

The polling was held on 16 February.

In the by-poll, Puttanna secured 8,260 votes and BJP-JD(S) nominee Ranganath had to settle for 6,753 votes. With the result, the JD(S)-BJP coalition faced its first defeat in Karnataka.

Also Read: Why a lone MLC seat by-poll is significant for political parties in Karnataka

Putanna expresses gratitude

After the victory, Puttanna told reporters: “I thank all the teachers of the constituency for electing me. I will continue to initiate welfare works for the betterment of the teachers’ community.”

“I have won the election because of the votes of teachers and not by the party workers. The BJP and the JD(S) fought against me in alliance but they couldn’t succeed. It is not me but the teachers who rejected the alliance candidate. I will continue to do good works,” he added.

Meanwhile, BJP-JD(S) nominee AP Ranganath, who lost polls, blamed the ruling Congress government for his defeat.

“The government has misused its powers and money power to defeat me in the by-polls. They pressured the officials as well. It is not the defeat of the alliance. It is personal defeat,” he said.

Following the result, the Congress will have 29 members in the 75-member legislative council.

The NDA has the majority with 44 seats — the BJP has 36 and the JD(S) eight — there is one independent member and one seat is vacant.

Importantly, as many as 19 MLC seats will be vacant by the end of this year. Among them, 17 MLCs’ tenures will end in June itself.

These seats are all likely to hold significance in the state’s political landscape as they provide an opportunity for the ruling party to gain a clear majority in the upper House as well.

Though the Congress is at the helm in Karnataka, it does not have sufficient numbers in the Legislative Council to pass Bills without any hurdles.

Also Read: BJP-JD(S) luring Congress leaders to cross-vote in RS elections: Congress MLA

19 seats to remain vacant

The tenure of 18 MLCs, including 12 seats of the NDA alliance, will conclude by the end of this year in Karnataka, with 17 of them becoming vacant in June itself. One graduate’s constituency seat is currently already vacant.

A total of 11 members — elected by the MLAs — will finish their tenure on 17 June. Among them, six are from the BJP, four are from the Congress, and one is from the JD(S).

They are the BJP’s Tejaswini Gowda, Raghunath Rao Malkapure, KP Nanjundi, S Rudregowda, N Ravikumar, and P Muniraju Gowda, the Congress’ K Govindaraj, K Harishkumar, Aravind Kumar Arali, and Minister NS Boseraju — who is the leader of the Legislative Council — and the JD(S)’s BM Farooq.

As for graduate constituencies, two seats will become vacant on 21 June. One is represented by the Congress’ Karnataka North-East Graduates MLC Chandrashekar Patil, while the second is held by the BJP’s Bangalore Graduates MLC A Deve Gowda.

The tenure of three MLCs elected from the teachers’ constituency will also conclude on the same day. They are the JD(S)’s Karnataka South Teachers MLC Maritibee Gowda, South-West Teachers MLC SL Bhojegowda, and the BJP’s South-East MLC YA Narayanaswamy.

Similarly, the tenure of two Congress MLCs nominated by the Governor — Prakash Rathod and UB Venkatesh — will end on 29 October.

The tenure of all the 25 MLCs elected from local authorities’ constituencies will end only in January 2028.