Karnataka Bypolls: Clash Of The Titans As Star Campaigners Of All Parties Hit The Campaign Ground

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All major leaders of BJP, JD(S) and Congress in Karnataka, including BS Yediyurappa, Basavaraj Bommai, HD Kumaraswamy, HD Deve Gowda, Siddharamaiah and DK Shivakumar, are on the ground campaigning for by-elections which are to be held on 30 October in Sindagi and Hangal constituencies.

It's a clash of titans in Karnataka as all star campaigners of the three main parties have hit the ground campaigning in Sindagi and Hangal assembly constituencies, where by-elections are to be held on 30 October.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)‘s star campaigner B S Yediyurappa took off his week-long campaign yesterday (19 October). It is his first by-poll since he gave up his chief ministership. He has previously led the party to victory in 14 out of the 17 bypolls. For CM Basavaraj Bommai, on the other hand, these are important elections as it is the first by-poll since he took over the reins from the Lingayat stalwart.

But the two will be seen campaigning separately, with BSY campaigning two days each, first in each of the seats and one day again closer to the polls, say reports. On not campaigning with Bommai, BSY said “I will be going alone and the CM will do the same on his own. There is no gain with both of us campaigning together. If we campaign separately then we cover more ground and have better reach”, as reported.

The Lingayat strongman is said to have been unhappy over the ticket not being issued to the Udaasi family and hence was said to be keeping away from campaigning until Bommai, for whom these bypolls be a prestige issue on many grounds, convinced him otherwise. Given the large Lingayat voter base in the two constituencies, it was imperative for the BJP to rope in the community’s tallest leader.

The Janata Dal Secular( JD(S)), on the other hand, has its tried and tested formula where HD Kumaraswamy is seen engaging the other parties in a war of words, while his father and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda is seeking votes on the grounds of it being the last time he does so.

Kumaraswamy was in Sindagi for the last five days and is confident of holding on to the seat. Dismissing any chance of the Congress, the former CM said the battle in Sindagi was one between the BJP and the JD(S) and the Congress shall be relegated to the third position as usual.

The two former chief ministers Kumaraswamy and Siddaramaiah, have been engaged in a war of words, especially after the JD(S) allotted the tickets to candidates from the minority community.

While Kumaraswamy accused the ‘senior Congress leader’ of being ‘anti-Muslim’ and of conducting ‘political genocide of Muslim leaders in the Congress Party’, Siddaramaiah retorted saying even Mahatma Gandhi wasn’t spared of such labels. Congress leader B Z Zameer Ahmad Khan joined the war of words asking Kumaraswamy to announce a Muslim name as the party’s CM candidate if it were to come to power.

JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda ‘begged‘ for votes using the sympathy card, saying he was in the last phase of his life and knew not how many more days he would survive. On his visit to Vijayapura on 18 October, the grand old man of the party pleaded with the voters saying, “I am 89 years of age. I wish to see our regional party in power in the state. For which I am seeking alms of votes.

Congress leader Siddharamaiah as well as party state president D K Shivakumar are campaigning in the two constituencies since Saturday (16 October) and will be joined by AICC General Secretary in charge of Karnataka Randeep Surjewala.

The bypolls were necessitated because of the deaths of JD(S) legislator M C Managuli of Sindagi and BJP’s C M Udasi from Hangal. BJP’s candidate from Sindagi is Ramesh Bhusanur, who lost to Managuli to come second in the 2018 elections, while for Hangal, they have Shivaraj Sajjanar.

Congress has fielded Srinivas Mane from Hangal and Ashok Managuli from Sindagi, while JD(S) has given the tickets to both minority candidates with Niyaz Sheik in Hangal and Nazia Angadi in Sindagi, which is sure to dent the minority vote bank of the Congress in both the seats.

Although by-poll results are traditionally said to favour the ruling party, a lot has changed even within it in Karnataka, which makes these results much watched out for.

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