For the BJP in Karnataka, the biggest obstacle in becoming a pan-Karnataka party was the Old Mysuru region. The 2019 Lok Sabha polls where the independent candidate in Mandya, Sumalatha Ambarish, backed by the BJP, won against the combined might of Congress and JDS was a step to ease the hurdle.
The victory in the heart of Mandya in the byelections, in KR Pete, is significant for the Saffron party in several ways. It is the first time the party has won in KR Pete constituency and in the entire district of Mandya which has been always considered a JDS stronghold.
The JDS learned its lesson and despite pressure from many quarters, did not field a member of the first family of JDS and instead chose a local Vokkaliga leader, Devraj. The former CM HD Kumarswamy who spent a considerable amount of time in the constituency even teared up while reminding the voters that they defeated his son Nikhil in the LS polls.
"The misnomer that people of Mandya will blindly stand by a family is what caused JDS the KR Pete seat. They should have understood the pulse of the people in the LS polls when they lost miserably but they didn't," said S Prakash, spokesperson of the BJP.
Mandya region, in particular, is a Vokkaliga stronghold and with BJP being largely seen as a Lingayat party, the win in the constituency where in which Yediyurappa’s birthplace is situated, is a particularly sweet one.
But Hosakote where the BJP fielded one of the richest candidates in the country, N. Nagaraju (MTB), threw up worries for the party. Denied a ticket from BJP, son of Chickballapur MP, Sharath Bache Gowda triumphed, casting his father's loyalty to the party into doubt. Sharath had contested from BJP in 2018 against Nagaraju lost by 6000 votes and this time had been adamant regarding his candidature.
Many senior ministers including R Ashoka and Ashwath Narayana called for action against BJP MP Bache Gowda who, they say, had a crucial role in the victory of his son. Nagaraju too, who was a minister in the previous government, has been lashing out against those in BJP who supported his opponent, Sharath seal the victory.
With the government safe, Yediyurappa will have a precarious task on his hand, of ensuring that the party loyalists who are still upset at the newcomers getting a cannet berth, rocking the boat. Demands for particular portfolios have already started coming in from the newly-elected MLAs and the next big challenge is to keep them happy enough to not cause trouble.