Voting for three Lok Sabha and two assembly seats in Karnataka is underway. The outcome of today’s results, which will be announced on 6 November, is bound to have a bearing on the next year’s parliamentary polls in the state. About 6 percent of the voters had cast their votes on Saturday in the first two hours of polling.
Three Lok Sabha seats going for by-polls on Saturday are Mandya, Bellari and Shivamogga, while two assembly constituencies are Ramanagara and Jamkhandi. The striking feature of these by-elections are that the Congress and the JDS have fielded joint candidates everywhere. The outcome will give an indication on the strength of the JDS-Congress alliance in the next year’s Lok Sabha polls.
The JDS has decided to field its candidates in Mandya, Shivamogga Lok Sabha and Ramanagara, while the Congress has put up its candidates in Bellari and Jamkhandi. Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had won from Ramanagara and Channapatna seats in this year’s assembly polls, but he resigned from Ramanagara after he became the chief minister. His wife Anitha Kumaraswamy is trying her luck from here. Her victory is almost certain as the BJP candidate L Chandrashekhar left his party to join the Congress, just two days before the elections.
Shivamogga Lok Sabha seat had fallen vacant after BJP’s BS Yeddyurappa resigned a BJP MP to contest in the assembly elections in May this year. Even though the Congress and the JDS are fighting together here, there are three main contenders in the fray. BJP has fielded Yeddyurappa’s son BY Raghavendra, while the JDS’s candidate is Madhu Bangarappa, the son of former chief minister S Bangarappa. The entry of JDU’s Mahima Patel, son of former chief minister JH Patel, has made the contest quite interesting. The JDU is an alliance partner of the BJP in Bihar.
Yeddyurappa isn’t the only chief minister to have represented Shivamogga. In 1967, the JDU candidate’s father, JH Patel, had represented this seat as a Samyukta Socialist Party candidate. S Bangarappa won from Shivamoga thrice, first as Congress candidate in 1996 and 1999 and then as BJP representative in 2004 and as Samajwadi candidate in 2005 by-election.
Speaking about his son’s chances, Yeddyurappa said, “101% my son is going to win the Shimoga seat. We are also going to win Bellary and Jamkhandi. We will get absolute majority in all the constituencies.”