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Setback for Cong, Siddaramaiah in Karnataka bypolls

New Delhi/Bengaluru, Dec 9 : Former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah who was eyeing a comeback in the by-election faced a setback with the Congress facing a rout and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) attaining a comfortable majority in the Assembly.

The Congress may face serious internal rift after the final results as the anti-Siddaramaiah camp has been looking for an opportunity to take the matter to interim party chief Sonia Gandhi.

The former Chief Minister was appointed leader of the opposition in the House in October despite stiff opposition from the old guards who consider him as an outsider. Siddaramaiah had quit the JD-S to join the Congress.

However, there is some solace for Siddaramaiah as two of his close aides have won the byelection. While Manjunath has won from Hunasuru in the Mysuru district, Rizwan Arshad defeated BJP candidate in Shivajinagar in the Bengaluru central.

While the Congress has conceded defeat, a party source said the rift in the state unit might widen further, with camp against the former Chief Minister upping the ante.

The Congress old-timers felt sidelined after Siddaramaiah's entry to the party. In 2019 General Elections, despite alliance with the JD-S, senior Congress leader M. Veerappa Moily, K.H. Muniyappa and Mallikarjun Kharge lost polls.

Congress senior leader and party trouble-shooter D.K. Shivakumar said, "We have accepted the defeat. The people have accepted most defectors who joined the BJP and contested on its symbol from the seats they had resigned and were later disqualified."

This is the second time this year that the Congress has faced defeat in the state. It could win only one Lok Sabha seat (Bangalore Rural) in the April-May parliamentary elections out of 21 seats it contested and the JD-S, its former ally, also only one of the 7 seats it contested.

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Setback for Cong, Siddaramaiah in Karnataka bypolls

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