BJP argues over credit for election victory


Staff member
Koppal: The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) yesterday won a bypoll for the assembly seat in the north Karnataka town of Koppal, sparking a wrangle in the state unit over credit for the victory.

BJP's Karadi Sanganna polled 60,405 votes to 47,917 of K. Basavaraj Hitnal of the Congress. Janata Dal-Secular's (JD-S) Pradeep Patil was way behind with 20,719 votes, a spokesperson for the state election office said.

Eleven independents lost their security deposits.

The bypoll, held on Monday in the town about 300km from Bengaluru, was necessary after Sanganna, who had won from here as JD-S candidate in the 2008 assembly elections, quit the house and the party to join BJP in March.

Immediately after the results were out, leaders of the divided state BJP spoke argued over who should get the credit for the victory.

"It is a victory of the collective leadership," state BJP president K.S. Eshwarappa said in New Delhi where he is to attend a party meeting.

In Bengaluru, Home Minister R. Ashoka also credited the victory to ‘"collective leadership". However, his ministerial colleague M.P. Renukacharaya dismissed that talk.

"What collective leadership? I am telling you categorically this is victory of [former chief minister B.S.] Yeddyurappa's leadership," said Renukacharya.

Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda, who succeeded Yeddyurappa on August 4, tried to steer clear of the raging controversy.

Development work

"Koppal's people have responded positively to our party government's development work in the last three years, to the contribution of Yeddyurappa and our sincerity in keeping our promises to the people,' Gowda said in Kolar, about 80 km from Bengaluru.

Yedduyurappa, who had tried in vain to be officially declared as the leader under whom the BJP will fight the Koppal bypoll, declined to answer questions on the issue.

However, he said in Bengaluru that the victory was due to his government's and party members' hard work.

With the Koppal victory, the BJP has 121 members, including the speaker, in the 225-seat house. It has the support of one independent.

The Congress has 71 members and the JD-S 26. There are five more independents.