In a morale booster to the Congress-Janata Dal Secular coalition government headed by H D Kumaraswamy in Karnataka, the Congress on Wednesday won the Jayanagar assembly seat in the city, defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party by over 2,800 votes.
This is the second straight win for the Congress in the electoral test the government faced since it came to power on May 23, stitching up a post-poll alliance after the assembly polls threw up a fractured verdict.
Unlike in the election for Rajarajeshwari Nagar, where both the Congress and the JD-S fought each other, in Jayanagar, former prime minister H D Deve Gowda's party pulled out its candidate from the contest and supported its ruling coalition partner, contributing to today's win.
According to poll officials, Congress' Sowmya Reddy secured 54,457 votes against her nearest rival from the BJP, BN Prahlad, who garnered 51,568 votes.
With the win in Jayanagar, Congress has 15 out of the 28 assembly seats in Bengaluru city in its kitty.
The assembly elections were held in Karnataka on May12, but the poll in Jayanagar was countermanded to June 11 due to the death of BJP candidate B N Vijayakumar, who was holding the seat.
Prahlad, brother of Vijaykumar and senior Congress leader and former minister Ramalinga Reddy's daughter Sowmya Reddy were locked in a direct contest.
Reddy, who got the ticket for his daughterdespite opposition from sections within the party,hasproved his clout in Jayanagar, the constituency he represented in the past, by ensuring her victory.
Jayanagar in the past had been a safe seat for Congress as Ramalinga Reddy had contested and won for four consecutive terms from the 1989 assembly election to 2004.
It is only since 2008 that the seat has gone to BJP's kitty asReddy shifted to neighbouring BTM Layout constituency.
Vijaykumarwon on a BJP ticket for two consecutive terms in 2008 and 2013.
Ramalinga Reddy said "the victory margin is smaller than what I had expected."
Ramalinga Reddy and Sowmya are said to be the first father-daughter duo to enter the assembly at the same time, at least in its recent electoral history.
Sowmya is the eigth woman MLA in the new assembly.
With this win, the coalition has the support of 118 MLAs in the 224-member House with the effective strength now at 222, factoring in one seat vacated by Kumaraswamy as he won from two constituencies, as also death of senior Congress MLA Siddu Nyamagouda fromJamkhandi, in a road accident.
While the Congress now has 79 MLAs, Kumaraswamy's JD-S has 36, and the Bahujan Samaj Party one.
The alliance has also the supportof the lone KPJP MLA and an independent.
The BJP, with 104 seats, had emerged as the single largest party in the May 15 assembly polls, but its efforts to form the government came to nought on May 19 when Yeddyurappa stepped down as chief minister without taking the floor test, prompted by inadequate numbers.
Kumaraswamy congratulated Sowmya Reddy on her victory, through a tweet.
BJP state President B S Yeddyurappa said the party candidate has lost by a small margin of 2,889 votes.
"We respect the verdict of the people. the party has got more votes than compared to last election. I thank voters whosupported us," he said in a statement.