Bypolls: Congress starts early preparations while JD(S) hints at not contesting

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The dates of the by-elections in the Maski and Basavakalyan segments have not yet been announced

Building on the recent debacle of the Sira and Rajarajeshwarinagar by-elections, Congress began early preparations for the polls in Maski and Basavakalyan Assembly constituencies even as Janata Dal (secular) hinted on Sunday that he did not contest the elections whose dates did not announce.

The bypass at Maski was necessitated by the resignation of Prathapgouda Patil, who was elected on the Congress ticket in 2018 but shifted his loyalty to the BJP with others, resulting in the downfall of JD (S), led by HD Kumaraswamy, 14 months old – Congressional Coalition in July 2019. Basavakalyan lawmaker B. Narayan Rao of Congress recently passed away.

The two bypolls – similar to those held at Sira and RR Nagar – will have no impact on the stability of the government but are expected to be fiercely contested both by Congress, which seeks to retain the two seats, and by the BJP. , who wants to tear them off. The son of Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and vice-chairman of BJP BY Vijayendra, who was credited with by-election victories in KR Pet and Sira, where the BJP was barely present, was already working in Basavakalyan.

Meanwhile, congressional sources said the party will fight firmly in both segments after the defeats to Sira and RR Nagar. Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee Chairman DK Shivakumar began his tour of the Kalyana Karnataka region on Sunday, and he, along with opposition leader in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah, is expected to shortlist the candidates before sending names in Delhi for approval.

BJP’s Basangouda Turvihal, who lost to Patil by a slim 213 votes in 2018, is expected to join Congress on Monday, and an announcement to that effect was made by Mr. Shivakumar. Party sources said Mr Turvihal was likely to get the ticket. Sources said: “The tour of congressional leaders in the region even before the election dates were announced comes in light of past defeats and they do not want to delay preparations for the poll.” Addressing a meeting of workers and party leaders in Hosapete in the Ballari district on Sunday, Shivakumar urged the leaders to unite to secure victories for Congress. “There is no misunderstanding among the leaders of Congress. Many workers from JD (S) and BJP met me to join Congress. They will be integrated into the fold of the party after having had discussions with the district chiefs, ”he added. He also accused the Yediyurappa-led BJP government of inflicting “discriminatory treatment” on constituencies represented by congressional lawmakers.

Mr Kumaraswamy told reporters here on Sunday that challenging the bypasses was irrelevant, saying the party would not be putting forward candidates. He said the BJP changed the format of the by-elections, alluding to misuse of official mechanisms and monetary power. He said, however, that the party would take an appeal after the deliberations. Incidentally, the top JD (S) leader and former PGR minister Sindhia lost the 2018 elections in Basavakalyan, which has a significant number of Maratha voters.

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