On the day people of Karnataka celebrate Deepavali, political parties and voters of three parliamentary and two assembly seats will sit tight for the results of bypolls. The counting of votes for Jamkhandi and Ramanagara assembly seats and Shivamogga, Ballari and Mandya Lok Sabha seats, which went to polls on Saturday, will begin at 8 am on Tuesday.
While it could be a walkover in Ramanagara for the JD(S)-Congress combined candidate Anitha Kumaraswamy, wife of the Chief Minister, especially after BJP’s Chandrashekar withdrew from the contest and joined the Congress, Ballari, Jamkhandi and Shivamogga are expected to be nail-biters.
In Shivamogga, BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa’s son B Y Raghavendra is testing his fortunes against another former chief minister S Bangarappa’s son Madhu Bangarappa of the JD(S).
The much-anticipated fight in Ballari, a BJP bastion, is expected to be a photo finish. Senior BJP leader Sriramulu’s sister J Shantha is fighting against V S Ugrappa of the Congress, considered an outsider, but strongly backed by party leaders Siddaramaiah and D K Shivakumar.Yeddyurappa is confident that the party will win Ballari and Shivamogga Lok Sabha seats and also Jamkhandi assembly seat. The party will give a tough fight in Mandya, he had said.
Though the Congress-JD(S) alliance is sure of winning the Mandya parliamentary seat, the BJP hopes to gain its vote share. An increase in vote share is all that the party needs to boost the cadre and capitalise on the infighting with the Congress-JD(S) workers in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao claimed that the coalition partners, Congress and JD (S), will win all five seats. “There is a wave in our favour in all five constituencies. The alliance will benefit both of us,” he said on Monday.
While BJP is confident of a victory in Shivamogga, albeit with a smaller margin, the fight in Jamkhandi is expected to be neck and neck with a small percentage of votes set to decide the fate of both parties.
In Jamkhandi, it remains to be seen whether Congress’ Anand Nyamagowda will be able to make his successful electoral debut, riding on the sympathy wave due to death of his father and former MLA Siddu Nyamagouda, by defeating Srikant Kulkarni of the BJP.In the Vokkaliga bastion of Mandya, JD(S)’s L R Shivarame Gowda, is pitted against a fresh face in Dr Siddaramaiah from the BJP.
The bypolls saw JD(S) and Congress going out of the way to prove their allegiance to each other and to send out a message to cadres. How the alliance fares is sure to set a trend for all other non-BJP parties across the country in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls.
Alliance partners are bent on making an example out of the bypolls while the BJP is looking to capitalise on the chinks between coalition partners, especially in the Old Mysuru region. However, Chief Minister H D Kumamaraswamy claimed that the JD (S) will win three seats, including Shivamogga, while the Congress-JD(S) coalition will win two other seats.