Congress set to win Karnataka parliamentary bypolls

Bangalore, Aug 24 (IANS) The ruling Congress in Karnataka was Saturday set to win two Lok Sabha seats from the state for which bypolls were held Aug 21.

With majority of the votes counted, the Congress candidates had taken winnable leads over Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) rivals in Bangalore Rural and Mandya constituencies. Mandya is about 80 km from Bangalore.

In Bangalore Rural, Congress candidate D.K. Suresh was ahead of Anita Kumaraswamy of JD-S by over 75,000 votes.

Anita is daughter-in-law of JD-S president and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda. She is married to H.D. Kumaraswamy, state JD-S chief and former chief minister.

In Mandya, the Congress nominee and popular Kannada actor Ramya was leading the JD-S rival C.S. Puttaraju by around 65,000 votes.

The bypolls were held as Kumaraswamy and his party colleague N. Cheluvarayaswamy quit the Lok Sabha after they were elected to the Karnataka assembly in the May elections.

Kumaraswamy held Bangalore Rural and Cheluvarayaswamy represented Mandya.

A beaming Chief Minister Siddaramaiah told reporters in Bangalore: "I had said earlier that the Congress will win both the seats. This is not just the defeat of JD-S, but also of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Karnataka Janata Party."

The BJP had withdrawn its candidates from the two constituencies, while KJP, headed by former BJP leader B.S. Yeddyurappa, did not enter the fray as the party backed JD-S, hoping to defeat the Congress.

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